The legal fight between the municipality and Regina Mendes-Doman and “Easy Fitness with Jeannie” continues, even after its doors have been closed during an appeal filed by Mrs. Mendes-Doman, to have the Municipal Land Use Board’s (MLUB) denial of her application reversed.
The latest chapter had the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) rule – after responding to an anonymous complaint that an illegal gym had been operating at 293 West Clay Avenue – that Easy Fitness was, in fact, not a health club. The term ‘health club’ is used in relation to a professional gym.
Roselle Park News confirmed that the determination was handed down last month by the DCA. After an investigation, DCA Investigator Oscar Mejia cited NJAC 13:45A-25, the state’s administrative code that regulates health club services, even going so far as stating, “It is clear to me that your business is not considered a health club because it does not meet the definition of a health club.”
Mr. Mejia went further, remarking, “[As] a matter of fact our regulation specifically states, “basic aerobics and dance exercise centers operating on a scheduled lesson or hourly basis” and “metabolic and nutrition centers”… are not subject to the act regulating sellers of health club services.”
This contradicts the determination of the municipality’s Code Enforcement Officer Carl Pluchino – who cited the establishment for being a gym – and subsequent interpretation by the MLUB during hearings earlier this year that the business was a gym.
When contacted by phone, Mr. Mejia provided no comment and directed all communications to Neal Buccino, a spokesman for the Division. Mr. Buccino also provided no comment, citing the Division’s policy regarding anonymous complaints.
Mrs. Mendes-Doman has filed an appeal to Union County Superior Court to have the matter of her denial by the MLUB heard outside of Roselle Park. On June 2nd, Union County Judge Hon. Karen M. Cassidy denied a temporary stay to have the business remain open during the appeal; following the criteria of Crowe v. De Gioia, the standard for the criteria in issuing preliminary injunctive relief. No other determination was made on the merits of the appeal by Judge Cassidy in her decision.
Additionally, the governing body has authorized $5,000.00 to pay for an attorney to represent the MLUB and the municipality due to a conflict of interest with the MLUB Attorney, Michael Tripodi.
The appeal is scheduled to be heard in the Fall.
A copy of ‘health club services’ regulations is available below: