Small Business Owners Arrested for Defying Governor's Closure Order


The co-owners of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey, were arrested Monday after numerous instances of the business defying a state order that mandated the gym’s closure.

Frank Trumbetti, 51, and Ian Smith, 33, were each charged with contempt, obstruction and violating a disaster control act, according to WSYX-TV.

The pair, which has since been released from jail, was notorious for defying Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s order to close fitness facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A judge ruled Friday that Atilis was to be closed, but Smith, on the same day as the ruling, said the gym will remain open.

Have governors overstepped the limits of their power during the coronavirus pandemic?
Barr Calls Bragg's Case Against Trump an 'Abomination,' Says He Will Vote for Former President

He also insisted he will “not back down under any circumstances” in a Facebook post, according to the local outlet.

“[We are] disappointed that this motion for contempt was granted, however we do respect the judge’s decision and will be taking all necessary steps to see if there is an issue of appeal here,” the duo’s lawyer Christopher Arzberger told WSYX-TV.

Trumbetti and Smith’s battle with the state has been ongoing since May 20 when the gym received a citation for remaining open.

“I will not close my doors again unless I’m behind bars,” Trumbetti yelled to supporters in May, according to a previous WSYX-TV report.

“And I guarantee you this door will be open every single day.”

Police arrived at the gym on May 18 to notify the owners that they were in violation of the governor’s order, but merely issued a warning and said “have a nice day.”

Biden Blocks Deportation of Palestinians: 'Pursuant to My Constitutional Authority...'

New Jersey gyms may only operate if they convert their operations to outdoors, according to the state’s official webpage.

Trumbetti and Smith instituted capacity policies, took the temperatures of clients and mandated masks in their facility.

However, an arrest came nonetheless, as the pair was still operating indoors, according to WSYX-TV.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact

A version of this article appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , ,
Founded by Tucker Carlson, a 25-year veteran of print and broadcast media, and Neil Patel, former chief policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, The Daily Caller News Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit providing original investigative reporting from a team of professional reporters that operates for the public benefit. Photo credit: @DailyCaller on Twitter