Orchard Park, N.Y. (WBEN) - "Come and get it."
That's what Orchard Park gym owner Robby Dinero told WBEN as he ended a LIVE appearance on Fox New Tuesday night during which he ripped up a $15 thousand fine he received today from the Erie County Department of Health.
The fine was levied by the county following the Friday evening protest he held inside Athletes Unleashed as it was deemed in violation of the current COVID restrictions in Erie County. Dinero's gym is closed along with other gyms and many businesses after the yellow zone declaration was made by New York State and Governor Andrew Cuomo last week.
Dinero was surrounded by about 100 flag waving and chanting supporters as he appeared on Fox News and explained why he thinks the restrictions are unconstitutional.
"They picked a fight with a Marine and a whole bunch of patriots," Dinero told WBEN. Dinero says the COVID restrictions are a violation of his rights. "The Constitution protects those rights."
Dinero says the Department of Health arrived along with the Erie County Sheriff's Department and handed him the fine after business hours on Tuesday.
Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw is looking to help Dinero pay the fine and is promoting a GoFundMe page to raise funds.
"This is going to be an interesting case," says attorney and WBEN legal analyst Paul Cambria. While Cambria admits Dinero has hosted events that exceed the allowable crowd for gathering, the events are protests. "We’ve seen a lot of those and we haven’t seen a lot of regulation of those," says Cambria.
Cambria tells WBEN he is expecting legal challenges to the New York State COVID business restrictions to be filed next week. And while Cambria advises business operators like Dinero to follow the safety guidelines for now, he encourages legal challenge.
"We need the courts to get involved."