In a fifty-seven page lawsuit filed today in federal court in Concord, New Hampshire, Aria DiMezzo and other plaintiffs including downtown restaurant “Pho Keene Great” are targeting the mask mandates issued by the “City of Keene” and “His Excellency”, NH Governor Chris Sununu.
Attorney Robert Fojo, who also sued Nashua earlier this year over their mandatory mask ordinance, is heading up the suit. In the detailed complaint, Fojo argues the City of Keene’s mask mandate is illegal, as New Hampshire is not a “home rule” state. Municipalities in New Hampshire are only allowed to create ordinances if state law authorizes it. Fojo says cities and towns do not have that authorization when it comes to masks. Additionally, Fojo says the Keene ordinance and Sununu’s state-level mask mandate on groups over 100 people is also a violation of people’s constitutionally protected rights.
In multiple counts, the suit points out the mask restrictions violate the right to assemble, due process, freedom of religion, and the freedom of speech via facial expressions and literally having one’s air passages restricted. Attorney Fojo cites some strongly-written Texas court decisions from this year including Abbott 20-0291 where the Texas Supreme Court agreed unanimously that, “The Constitution is not suspended when the government declares a state of disaster.” and Salon A La Mode, et al 20-0340, where the same court wrote, “All government power in this country, no matter how well-intentioned, derives only from the state and federal constitutions. Government power cannot be exercised in conflict with these constitutions, even in a pandemic…If we tolerate unconstitutional government orders during an emergency, whether out of expediency or fear, we abandon the Constitution at the moment we need it most.”
Sadly, too many people in New Hampshire have been obeying myriad outrageous infringements on our liberties. Some obey out of irrational fear of a relatively unremarkable virus that the media and governments across the world have blown way out of proportion. Others obey the draconian edicts because they are afraid of what their obedient neighbors might think. Business owners comply too, some because they either believe the government’s propaganda or think the restrictions are what their frightened customers want and they don’t want to lose their business. Other business owners obey the diktats simply because they are afraid of what the government goons will do to them if they don’t do as they are “ordered”.
As a result of this pervasive culture of fear, very few NH business owners have stood up against these arbitrary “orders” endlessly emanating from “His Excellency”, and yes, Sununu’s orders really do refer to him in that way.
Thank goodness for Pho Keene Great, the best-named restaurant in all of New Hampshire that made international headlines after the “City of Keene” gang threatened their moniker during the 2018 Christmas holiday. Owner Malaise Lindenfeld is a local entrepreneur with a knack for opening and operating successful, trendy restaurants. Sadly, like so many businesses across New Hampshire and elsewhere, two of her three area restaurants, Audrey’s Cafe and Piedra Fina have been closed permanently due to the power-mad restrictions imposed this year by tyrant king Sununu.
When asked about her involvement in the lawsuit, Lindenfeld – who immigrated from Venezuela – said, “I am leary of being forced to do things “for the greater good”. Historically, the government starts with small actions and then moves on to sweeping changes that erode our freedoms. COVID-19 could be a case study on how this is true. We started with closing restaurants for two weeks to flatten the curve, and moved on to general lockdowns and mandatory mask wearing. Every time a new rule is made we are told that it is just one small sacrifice for the greater good. “If we could save one life”, we are told, it will all be worth it. But each small sacrifice adds up to one large violation of our rights. I have seen this as a Jew and as a Venezuelan, and I know that ultimately this is not about the greater good after all, but about the greater concentration of power. I am not willing to quietly relinquish my freedom.”
Lindenfeld’s co-plaintiff needs no introduction to those paying attention to the news in the last week. Aria DiMezzo who launched from relative obscurity to international headline-grabber by securing the republican nomination for Cheshire County Sheriff despite being a self-described “Anarchist She-Male” who also happens to be the High Priestess of the Reformed Satanic Church in Keene. Given Keene’s mask mandate targets all “business” including non-profits, her Keene-based church has standing to sue the city gang.
DiMezzo weighed in regarding her reasons for being co-plaintiff in the case, saying, “It’s not about whether masks are effective or ineffective. That isn’t the issue here. It’s about whether the government can force me to put on a identifier…It’s about whether the government can turn you, my brothers and sisters, my friends, my family in humanity, against me on the basis of what I wear. This is not a Jewish star in Nazi Germany. However, precedents are important. If we allow this to happen, there is no telling what might come next.”
The third co-plaintiff is me, Ian Freeman, co-founder of Bitcoin Embassy NH in Keene and also minister of the Shire Free Church, which in addition to operating the Embassy, owns the building housing the Embassy. The Embassy also runs the local cryptocurrency meetup group that continued to hold meetings even in the early days of COVID in defiance of governor’s orders prohibiting gatherings of over ten. All the lawsuit co-plaintiffs were co-organizers of a mask freedom rally held in Keene’s Central Square after Sununu issued his “order” banning unmasked gatherings of over 100. The order targets organizers of such events with the penalty, not the attendees, much like the Keene mask ordinance that puts the consequences on local business owners, turning them into unpaid enforcers against their own customers, effectively forcing them to cut their own business’ throats.
This lawsuit isn’t perfect. It targets only the most symbolic of the insane restrictions put in place over the last six months – the mask mandates in Keene and statewide. It’s merely a starting point. The ideal suit would be to target all the governor’s orders and the statutes that enable him to issue them in the first place, however our attorney says that needs to be done in state court and our case here is federal. Attorney Fojo already has a couple of relevant cases pending in state court with other clients. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for updates regarding any progress or failure in regards to the legal pushback against this insane medical authoritarian state growing around us. Whether our suit prevails or not, we’ll never win so long as people keep obediently doing what these government goons tell them. When will you stop obeying?