Erie County Comptroller starts GoFundMe for gym owner fined $15,000 for large gathering

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)-After organizing a protest at his gym with other business owners over new COVID restrictions,  Robby Dinero, owner of Athletes Unleashed, has been fined $15,000.

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw wants to help him pay it. Mychajliw started a GoFundMe for Dinero.

In a statement sent to News 4, Mychajliw calls out the county executive, saying he cares more about shutting down the economy than protecting the health of the community.

“Mark Poloncarz crossed a line. Punitively punishing a small business owner that served our country is despicable. People are fed up. The resistance against power-hungry politicians destroying businesses with arbitrary COVID rules they make up as they go along has begun. Enough is enough.”

Friday, Dinero and demonstrators forced Erie County Sheriff’s Officers and an employee from the Erie County Health Department off his property when they tried to break up the large gathering at his gym in Orchard Park.

News 4 spoke with Dinero after the incident and he said he doesn’t agree with how the state is handling the shutdown and feels gyms are being unfairly targeted.

“There is no standard. There’s no rhyme or reason. I am personally very glad that martial arts studios get to be open. Gymnastics studios get to be open, dance studios, I think that’s awesome. I’m glad Walmart gets to be open because Walmart employs a lot of people, Target Etc. How are they any different from this gym?”

Kelly Khatib is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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