HOLLAND, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced on Friday the arrest of Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, the owner of Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland, for violating the state’s public health orders.
Officials say Pavlos-Hackney has continued to willfully violate the state’s food laws, public health orders and a court-ordered Temporary Restraining Order, which was converted into a preliminary injunction, according to a news release.
AP reports Pavlo-Hackney has been ordered to stay in jail until she pays $7,500 and closes her business.
Pavlos-Hackney’s attorney says she could immediately pay $7,500 and close the restaurant.
Pavlos-Hackney, 55, was taken into custody by Michigan State Police at about 5:45 a.m. Friday on an outstanding Ingham County Civil Warrant for Contempt of Court, for failing to comply in a civil case filed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
She was arrested without incident after a traffic stop on Lakewood Boulevard and 160th in Ottawa County.
The state suspended her food establishment license on Jan. 20, but the restaurant has been operating without a license since then – in violation of the Michigan Food Law.
An administrative hearing was held on Feb. 1 to determine if the suspension was proper and on Feb. 11 the administrative law judge issued a decision and an order continuing the summary suspension of Marlena’s food license.
“This owner has continued to willfully violate the state’s food laws, public health orders and the order of the court – a dangerous act that may have exposed dozens of diners and employees to the virus following the discovery that one of Marlena’s customers tested positive for the virus within two days of eating there,” Nessel said. “MDARD is particularly concerned because the potential exposure happened at a restaurant that refuses to comply with basic COVID-19 measures required by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.”
The Allegan County Health Department previously issued a news release notifying the public about their potential exposure to the virus.
Pavlos-Hackney was advised by Michigan State Police via phone on March 11 that a warrant had been issued for her arrest.
She had been advised to turn herself in by March 18, but she did not do so.
Pavlos-Hackney was seen driving and police initiated the traffic stop after which she was arrested.
She was lodged at the Ingham County Jail.
A GoFundMe has been set up to support her restaurant.
The Michigan GOP criticized Nessel's office for going after restaurants but not investigating nursing home deaths.