New Jersey Gym Claims State Seized $173K From Bank, Owner Discusses Cryptocurrency Solutions With Tucker Carlson

On January 14, Ian Smith, the co-owner of the Atilis Gym in New Jersey appeared on Fox News with the news anchor, Tucker Carlson, and discussed his battle with the state of New Jersey’s coronavirus lockdown orders. Smith and his business partner have defied the state’s lockdown orders and remained open for months. The Bellmawr establishment has been fined $15k per day, as the company does not adhere to enforcing Covid-19 protocols. On Wednesday evening the state of New Jersey allegedly took action and seized $173,613 from the gym owner’s bank account.

Atilis Gym Owner Claims the State of New Jersey Seized $173K from His Bank Account

The co-owner of the Bellmawr, New Jersey (NJ) establishment Atilis Gym is extremely upset because he says his legal funds were confiscated by the state on Wednesday. Ian Smith and his business partner, Frank Trumbetti, own and operate the gym. Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the establishment has refused to follow Covid-19 protocols enforced by the state.

For instance, Atilis Gym does not require gym patrons to wear masks inside while working out. After refusing to follow the lockdown protocols assigned by NJ Governor Philip Murphy and the State Health Commissioner, Judith Persichilli, Atilis Gym has been fined $15k per day for remaining open in this manner.

In July, NJ law enforcement officials barricaded the Atilis Gym entrance and arrested Smith and Trumbetti for defying court orders. A week later, Smith and Trumbetti filmed themselves breaking down the barricades the state leveraged to block the Atilis Gym’s doors. Smith and his partner stress that there have been zero cases of Covid-19 traced back to the gym.

After the $15k daily fines started to add up, the levy against the NJ establishment has climbed well over a million U.S. dollars to-date. This week, Smith tweeted that the state had upped the enforcement on Wednesday by seizing $173,613 from the gym owner’s bank account.

Smith said:

Moments ago Governor Murphy and his cronies seized 100% of the Atilis Gym legal defense money ($173,613.60) in the middle of our appeals process – effectively and intentionally interfering with our right to counsel. If you think that’s gonna make us stand down, you’re delusional.

Cryptocurrencies Are One of Most Frequent Recommendations, Says New Jersey Gym Owner

Following the tweet, a few people recommended that the Atilis Gym owner accept cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Smith also appeared on Fox News after the funds were seized, and he discussed the incident with the news anchor Tucker Carlson.

“This is in the middle of an appeals process and ongoing litigation in the matter of the fines and several other matters regarding the state, including a lawsuit against Governor Murphy and [the State Health Commissioner] Judith Persichilli,” Smith explained to Carlson. During the episode, Tucker Carlson also mentioned the subject of cryptocurrencies.

“How long do you think they’ll allow cryptocurrencies to exist,” Carlson asked the Atilis Gym owner chuckling to himself. Continuing to laugh, Carlson further said “Sorry, it’s just a thought as they can’t seize it from you…” Smith replied to Carlson’s cryptocurrency comment and said: “No, they can’t [seize crypto].”

The Atilis Gym owner further added:

That’s actually one of the frequent recommendations for people who want to continue to donate is to set up a cryptocurrency account.

It’s uncertain whether or not Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti will set up a cryptocurrency account in order to accept censorship-resistant donations. Whether the Atilis Gym owners do decide to accept crypto or not, the story still highlights the benefits of crypto assets like bitcoin that cannot be seized in such a manner. This is likely why digital currencies are one of the most frequent recommendations given to the New Jersey gym owners. Despite Smith’s most recent claims on Twitter and Fox News, the NJ Attorney General’s office disputes the money seizure.

“This information is not accurate,” an NJAG spokesperson told the news anchor Carlson. “The State has not seized [its] bank account funds. However, the State has obtained judgments against the owners, and intends to collect on them. Whether that affects the entire balance of the gym’s funds is a question to ask the bank,” the NJAG spokesperson added.

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