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COVID-19: Sussex County Gym Owner Who Sued Murphy Administration Closes Business

Darlene Pallay, owner of CKO Kickboxing in Franklin
Darlene Pallay, owner of CKO Kickboxing in Franklin Photo Credit: Darlene Pallay

The owner of a Sussex County kickboxing studio is closing up shop just weeks after filing a lawsuit against Gov. Phil Murphy.

Darlene Pallay, who owns CKO Kickboxing in Franklin, claimed in her suit that the Governor’s signing of Executive Order 104 on March 19 failed to abide by the part of the act that requires businesses to be compensated in the event of forced closure. 

She closed her gym in March as per Murphy's orders, and reopened for outdoor classes in June.

Her studio offering free virtual classes to local elementary school students, studio members and others in the community members. But, Pallay said, things weren't the same. Come Oct. 31, CKO Kickboxing in Franklin will close for good.

“It’s heartbreaking, to be honest," Pallay said. "Ten years and a lot of hard work and love.”

Pallay purchased the Franklin business 10 years ago from the CKO Kickboxing CEO in Hoboken.

"It was not doing well when I took it over," she said. "It was in the red."

But Pallay poured her heart and soul into the gym. She grew the membership to 200 people as of March. 

Because of the virus, more than 100 people cancelled their memberships, NJ.com reports.

Pallay is heartbroken.

“I have done everything I can to follow the rules that were set forth," she said. "I didn’t open illegally, my people are still wearing masks and were 6 feet apart...We have obeyed every part of the EO, and it’s just a shame that when you do something like that, you lose everything. That’s the hardest part.”

To make matters worse, Pallay is now facing eviction.

Despite having paid the maximum 40 percent of rent using a PPP loan, her landlord "didn't make any concessions to the rent."

Pallay's lawsuit said that the Disaster Control Act would have required Murphy to organize a board for every county with at least three members dedicated to emergency compensation.

The ultimate goal would have been to provide “reasonable compensation” to those whose businesses have been “taken or used."

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