Michigan judge sends restaurateur to jail for reopening business without state’s permission

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has presided over some of the country’s most aggressive COVID-19 lockdown measures — strict and harsh rules that have even resulted in the imprisonment of small business owners.

According to the Washington Examiner, that was evidenced last week when 55-year-old Marlena Pavlos-Hackney — a small business owner — learned that she will spend up to the next three months in jail for contempt of court.

Pavlos-Hackney is a restaurateur who owns Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria, which is located in Holland, Michigan. She stands accused of operating her business in defiance of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions. A warrant was issued for her arrest earlier this month.

“Dangerous” behavior

The Washington Examiner quoted Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel as slamming Pavlos-Hackney for engaging in what she labeled as “dangerous” behavior.

“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 & Human Services,” she added.

Ingraham County Circuit Judge Rosemaria Aquilina was also critical of the restaurant owner, complaining that Pavlos-Hackney had “selfishly not followed the orders.”

Aquilina went on to assert that the restaurant owner had acted for her “own financial gain and apparently for the publicity that comes with it.”

It gets worse

In addition to serving time behind bars, the Detroit News reported that Pavlos-Hackney will also need to pay a staggering $7,500 fine as part of her punishment — money that’s likely hard to come by after the state crushed small businesses ability to profit during the pandemic.

In a bizarre turn of events, the Washington Examiner noted that Pavlos-Hackney wasn’t the only one who found herself on the way to jail on Friday, as Judge Aquilina also ordered a man who was assisting with her legal defense to be arrested after it was alleged that he is not properly licensed to practice law.

Michigan Live reported that a crowd of people gathered outside of Pavlos-Hackney’s shuttered restaurant on Saturday to show their support for the soon-to-be jailed restaurant owner.

Michigan Republican Party co-chair Meshawn Maddock was among those in attendance, and she declared that Nessel should be more concerned with Whitmer’s policy of sending infected COVID-19 patients into nursing homes.

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