Holland restaurant owner released from jail after closing restaurant, paying $15K fine

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

A Holland restaurant owner has been released from jail more than four days after she was arrested — after she paid $15,000 in fines and closed her business. 

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, 55, was released from jail at 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to her lawyer Robert Baker.

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney sits in the courtroom during her arraignment, Friday, March 19, 2021, at the 30th Judicial Circuit Court in Lansing.

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Her restaurant, Marlena's Bistro and Pizzeria, was boarded up Friday but the state monitored it throughout the weekend to ensure compliance with a judge's order shuttering the establishment. The order followed nearly four months of noncompliance with COVID-19 health regulations that triggered notices, citations and hearings between the restaurant and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

Ingham County Judge Wanda Stokes signed an order Tuesday releasing Pavlos-Hackney from jail after receiving notices of compliance from Baker and the state. 

The order warns a bench warrant will be issued and Pavlos-Hackney arrested again if Marlena's resumes food operation, said Jennifer Holton, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

"MDARD continues to ensure the state’s food laws are being followed to protect food safety and public health," Holton said. "The department is hopeful that now, after months of Ms. Pavlos-Hackney refusing to work with MDARD to resolve this matter, Ms. Pavlos-Hackney will comply with both MDARD’s and the court’s orders and will come into compliance with the food law."  

The restaurant's state license was revoked in February because the business was not requiring masks, social distancing or capacity limits consistent with state epidemic orders. But Pavlos-Hackney continued to operate without a license.

Pavlos-Hackney intends to keep the restaurant closed during the upcoming court process, said Baker. He said he planned to meet with her later Tuesday to determine next steps.

"We're going to fight the underlying charges," said Baker, who was retained Friday, hours after Pavlos-Hackney was arrested. "I don't know if it's too late, but we're going to attempt to do everything properly through the court system."