HOLLAND, Mich. — The attorney for the once-jailed owner of Marlena's Bistro and Pizzeria is working to get the place back open several months after the state shut it down.
The restaurant's legal team have also filed their case with the Michigan Court of Appeals in an effort to get back $15,000 they have so far paid in fines related to the case.
A bench warrant was issued for Marlena Pavlos-Hackney's 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.
Attorney General Dana Nessel alleged 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.
Nessel said that she had refused to comply with local health orders, like mask mandates and capacity limits.
Our sister station FOX 17 was there on March 23 when she was released from the Ingham County jail. “I am grateful and thankful to all of you who stand up on my side and follow me,” she said at the time.
Now, her attorney Robert Baker is working to finally get her restaurant back open.
"The AG’s office, and I, and Marlena have been back and forth on what it's going to take to get her to reopen,” Baker told FOX 17. “The only thing that's stopping her from re-opening currently, because she's complied with all of the health codes and everything, and her restaurants been inspected... is this [temporary] court order that's out there.”
Baker hopes to have Marlena's Bistro open within the next few weeks, or sooner.
Marlena's legal team has also filed their case with the Michigan Court of Appeals, in an attempt to recoup the $15,000 Marlena has so far paid in fines related to the case, and to remedy several issues Baker says arose out of Marlena's first court appearance.
"And we'll see what they do with that,” Baker said. “Michigan has been doing a good job constitutionally here recently, so I'm optimistic that they will hear this.”
He expects to hear something from the court within the next 3 to 6 months. For now, Marlena has been keeping busy by speaking at different rallies across the country.
“She's doing really well, actually. She has been... traveling around the country doing some speeches, talking about freedom, and you know, we the people, and constitutionality," Baker explained.
"She's become a banner person for the abuses of of the system, and what what the state can do to you.”
To review an interactive timeline on the process of Marlena's case in and out of the courts, click here.