AG Nessel Announces Arrest of COVID-Defiant Holland Restaurant Owner 

Contact: Kelly Rossman-McKinney 517-512-9342
Agency: Attorney General

March 19, 2021

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the arrest today of Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, the owner of Marlena's Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland. 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.   

Pavlos-Hackney, 55, Holland, was taken into custody by the  Michigan State Police (MSP) today at 5:45 a.m. 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 (MDARD v. Zante Inc.,dba Marlena's Bistro and Pizzeria). She was arrested, without incident, following a traffic stop on Lakewood Blvd and 160th in Ottawa County. 

MDARD suspended Marlena's food establishment license on January 20, 2021.  The restaurant has been operating without a license since then - in violation of the Michigan Food Law.  An administrative hearing was held on February 1 to determine if the suspension was proper and on February 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," said Nessel "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 & Human Services." 

The Allegan County Health Department issued a news release  notifying the public about their potential exposure to COVID-19. 

Pavlos-Hackney was advised by MSP via phone on March 11 that a warrant had been issued for her arrest and she was advised to turn herself in by March 18; she failed to do so.   

Pavlos-Hackney was observed driving and a traffic stop was initiated, at which time she was positively identified and arrested without incident.  She was transported and is now lodged at the Ingham County Jail while awaiting court proceedings.  

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Please note: A charge is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Attorney General's office does not provide booking photos; however, one may be available upon request via email from the Michigan State Police