NY Business Owner Tears Up $15,000 COVID Fine on Live TV


Patriotism and defiance mingled Tuesday night on Fox News as western New York gym owner Robby Dinero ripped up a notice fining him for COVID-19 violations.

“Come and get it,” Dinero, who spent 14 years in the Marine Corps, said after tearing up a letter from the Erie County Department of Health during a live interview.

He said the fine came from a Friday night protest at the gym, which has been closed along with all other gyms in the region after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo imposed new restrictions last week in response to a rise in positive coronavirus. Dinero’s business is in Orchard Park, a Buffalo suburb.

In a video posted to YouTube and shared by Fox News, a group of protesters can be seen in a confrontation with deputies who had arrived on the scene.

One asked them to have compassion, citing the economic hardship so many are facing amid the unprecedented lockdowns, before daring the deputies to put him behind bars.

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“This is private property. Go get a warrant,” another person said.

“Get out,” the crowd chanted. The deputies eventually left the scene.

WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive.

In his live interview Tuesday night on “The Story,” Dinero explained how this battle began. He had called a protest on Friday and posted about on Facebook.

“We were about 20 minutes into that meeting when some sheriffs and a Department of Health official showed up uninvited,” he said. “My business was closed. We were not conducting business. This was a protest. They walked in uninvited.”

Dinero said protesters asked him what to do, and he said they should get the officials to leave.

“Those patriots took it upon themselves to stand shoulder to shoulder and tell them to get out,” he said. The gym owner said that if he had been in the wrong, backup would have been called to escalate the situation.

But the story did not end there.

On Tuesday, after the gym was closed, deputies and a Department of Health official returned to the gym. Dinero told them to return during business hours, but instead, as the officials left, they taped a notice to the gym door telling him that he faces a $15,000 fine.

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Holding back his emotions, Dinero spoke about the principles behind his protest.

“Any infringement on our liberty goes too far. We were born with inalienable rights bestowed upon us by our Creator. They are guaranteed by the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights,” he said on Fox News.

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“Any infringement on our freedom for any reason is too far. Our freedom cannot end where people’s fear starts.”

He challenged Cuomo and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz to sit with his family or the families of any of the 100 protesters behind him and explain why the politicians should get paid while working men and women cannot earn a living.

Dinero then ripped up the letter notifying him of the fine.

“They picked a fight with a Marine and a whole bunch of patriots,” Dinero told WBEN-AM, adding that he will not back down.

He made a similar point in an interview with WKBW-TV, saying, “They found out they messed with the wrong bunch of patriots. I’m not here to argue with the governor or the county executive about spike rates — I don’t care. Freedom can never be subjugated to fear.”

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw said the county went too far.

“Mark Poloncarz crossed a line. Punitively punishing a small business owner that served our country is despicable,” he said in a statement, according to WKBW.

“People are fed up,” Mychajliw said. “The resistance against power hungry politicians destroying businesses with arbitrary COVID rules they make up as they go along has begun.

“Enough is enough. Mark Poloncarz is a bully that cares more about shutting down the economy, closing schools, regulating churches and damaging families than protecting the health of our community.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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