Jailed Holland restauranteur seeks refund of $15K fines

Ottawa County

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney sits in the courtroom during her arraignment, Friday March, 19, 2021, at the 30th Judicial Circuit Court in Lansing, Mich. Pavlos-Hackney, a western Michigan restaurant owner, was arrested before dawn Friday and hauled to jail, a dramatic turn in a monthslong dispute over her persistent refusal to comply with orders and restrictions tied to the coronavirus. Pavlos-Hackney, 55, will remain in jail until she pays $7,500 and authorities confirm that Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland, Mich., is closed, a judge said. (Nicole Hester/Ann Arbor News via AP)

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A West Michigan restaurant owner who spent four nights in jail for violating coronavirus-related orders is firing back weeks later with a demand that $15,000 in fines be refunded and contempt findings dropped.

An attorney for Marlena Pavlos-Hackney said her rights were violated during a contentious court hearing on March 19.

State regulators yanked Pavlos-Hackney’s food license in January for serving indoor diners and breaking other rules related to preventing the spread of COVID-19. But the restaurant, Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland, stayed open in defiance.

Pavlos-Hackney refused to turn herself in to face a contempt hearing. She was arrested and spent four nights in jail until authorities were convinced that her restaurant would stay closed.

Attorney Robert Baker, who wasn’t hired until Pavlos-Hackney was arrested, said a judge questioned her without recognizing that she had a lawyer. He said there was “no testing of any evidence” or an opportunity to cross-examine or produce witnesses.

A message seeking comment was sent to the attorney general’s office.

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