A New Jersey gym owner who repeatedly defied coronavirus lockdowns and was fined nearly $1.2 million will not pay a single dollar.
Ian Smith, co-owner of Atilis Gym, has received roughly 60 citations and is charged nearly $15,500 per each day that he remains open in defiance of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 closures, Fox News reports.
Smith and another owner of the fitness center were even arrested after refusing to close their business in late July.
In regards to the fines, Smith said they simply won’t be paying
“We aren’t going to be paying them,” Smith told the Daily Caller.
“Leave us alone,” he added in a message to the governor. “We have proved you wrong. Our business has been running for 7 months with better safety protocol than the entities you are responsible for running.”
“Long term care facilities have the highest death rate and it’s still rampaging through facilities even though they have been locked down,” he continued. “Our protocol has kept people safe, yours hasn’t.”
Smith blasted the governor, calling the closures a “complete tragedy” for small businesses.
“What’s happening to the middle class and small businesses in America is nothing short of a complete tragedy,” he told Fox News. “I would go so far as to call it criminal. You are putting people out of business for good.”
“You are making them reliant on big government,” he added. “You are taking away their civil liberties under the guise of pretending like you care about public health.”
In a video posted on Sunday, Smith held up flashcards reading “Free men don’t ask permission. Or for forgiveness.”
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) December 12, 2020