Graham gym owner facing around $80,000 in fines from the state says he will continue to keep gym open

The owner of Graham Fitness telling Q13 News on Saturday that his gym may be facing the steepest fine in the state.

Michael Knick said the fine levied so far is around $80,000, but no amount will make him shut down his gym.

“Small businesses are being destroyed in the thousands across this state I was not going to lay down and let this happen to me,” Knick said.

Knick said defying state orders does not mean he doesn’t believe in COVID-19 or science.

“All the members have to wipe everything down before or after everything they touch in the building, to be shut when there are zero cases reported coming from the gyms or no contact tracing back to the gyms,” Knick said.

Right now restaurants can’t have indoor dining while places like gyms and movie theatres have been ordered to temporarily close until January 4th to slow the spread of the virus.

Knick said he has a problem with the way the government is treating businesses differently.

“One corporation and another corporation can have different privileges is 100% against our state constitution,” Knick said.

With restrictions choking the economy and livelihoods, Knick isn’t the only one rebelling.

Washington state Labor & Industries says more than 300 complaints per day have been coming in the last week about businesses not following the rules. L&I telling the Olympian 40 to 50 businesses so far have been fined for COVID violations.

“Initially L&I wanted to get a judgement against us because my employee’s lives were in danger and they needed the courts to immediately restrain us from doing business, so once I heard that was their angle of attack, I decided it was best I run the gym myself,” Knick said.

He avoided the courts but every day he is open means more than $9,000 in fines per day. Knick said has no plans on paying anything.

 “I am going to fight as long as a I can,” Knick said.