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Motion to release jailed Holland restaurant owner filed as supporters continue to rally

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, 55, was arrested Friday on a contempt charge after AG Dana Nessel says she refused to comply with local health orders
Marlena Holland Owner in Jail Monday
Posted at 4:31 PM, Mar 22, 2021

HOLLAND, Mich. — The restaurant owner who was arrested after allegedly refusing to comply with local health orders remains in jail Monday as supporters continue to rally around her.

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney was taken into custody by several Michigan State Police troopers early Friday morning near her home.

Her attorney Robert Baker told FOX 17 just before 4:00 p.m. that all fines (a total of $15,000) had been paid to the court and they were actively working to file a notice of compliance with the court, and a motion to have her released.

The notice and motion were filed just before 5:00 p.m. Monday, according to documents shared with FOX 17.

“She is upbeat, she's nervous and afraid, you know. She's never been incarcerated before,” Baker said.

“She is a Polish immigrant, naturalized citizen, and she came from a former Soviet bloc country, and she takes the constitution seriously. And she was confused by the multiple executive orders, and then those executive orders being deemed unconstitutional.”

A bench warrant had been issued for her arrest by an Ingham County judge on March 5 for failure to comply in a civil case filed against her by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Nessel said in a press release sent out after her arrest that a customer had tested positive for COVID-19 within two days of eating at the restaurant. She also said that Pavlos-Hackney was informedof the bench warrant on March 11.

In a brief appearance in court on Friday, Pavlos-Hackney was denied bond and placed in the Ingham County jail. She was issued another fine of $7,500— bringing her total fines to $15,000 -- and was told she would remain in jail until she "demonstrated compliance."

The full $15,000 has been paid to the court, and her attorney filed both a notice of compliance and an ex-parte motion to have her released from jail.

Several GOP lawmakers and organizers with the Stand Up Michigan group gathered in front of Marlena's Bistro Monday morning for a brief press conference, expressing their frustration with the situation and specifically with how Attorney General Dana Nessel was pursuing the case.

"Right now she’s behind bars, she can’t get out. It's heartbreaking... Her family is heartbroken, the community is heartbroken," said Rep Mary Whiteford. “She wants to support her family, she wants to support the families of the employees that work with her. That’s all she wants.”

President of Stand Up Michigan and former mayor of Newaygo Ron Armstrong told FOX 17, "She made the decision to stay open not knowing if anyone would come eat at her establishment, and she has been packed with people who are glad to be normal, glad to return to their lives, and willing to take the risk.”

In addition to those organizing the event, there were several dozen supporters in attendance.

Flora Muller said she came down Monday morning to support Marlena and find out thee latest updates on her case.

"I've been coming here with a church group of friends for about 3 months now and none of us got sick," she said.

Before her arrest on Friday, Marlena appeared as a guest on several national media outlets, including Tucker Carlson's show.

"I'm going to fight and I am not going to give up," she told Carlson in an interview.

Pavlos-Hackney's attorney told FOX 17 on Monday that he believes those appearances contributed to why Attorney General Dana Nessel pursued her case.

Attorney General Dana Nessel issued the following statement Monday:

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney had countless opportunities to comply with even the most basic health and safety protocols to protect her community from the spread of Covid. She defied her local health department and the court at every turn, instead choosing to taunt health inspectors, law enforcement and the courts at every turn- going on Tucker Carlson and setting up a lucrative Go Fund Me account instead of making even the slightest effort to protect her customers, her workers and community. She is no martyr and no hero. One cannot repeat the mantra of "Law & Order" and support the activities of Ms Pavlos-Hackney. But if you cheered Donald Trump when he bragged about the many ways he avoided military service while others complied with their legal obligations, it's no wonder you revere this woman. Making personal sacrifice for the greater good of our state and nation was once considered admirable. Not anymore.
Michigan AG Dana Nessel

She also released the following alleged timeline of events that lead up to Pavlos-Hackney being arrested.

Alleged timeline of events released by AG Dana Nessel on March 22
Alleged timeline of events released by AG Dana Nessel on March 22