Lawmaker says owners of closed cemetery may have broken the law - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Lawmaker says owners of closed cemetery may have broken the law

It was a packed house at Jackson-Olin High School. Source: Sherea Harris It was a packed house at Jackson-Olin High School. Source: Sherea Harris
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A huge crowd of people packed into Jackson Olin High School's auditorium Thursday night.

Many of the people in the crowd have relatives already buried at George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens, all worried who will keep up with the maintenance now that the cemetery closed suddenly. Several of the people at the meeting spent thousands on pre-paid plots for themselves and State Representative Rod Scott informed them of a big problem.

According to the Department of Insurance, the owner of the cemetery may have violated state law by pre-selling plots through what's called "pre-need insurance."

"No records are found at the State Department of Insurance that gives them certification to sell pre-need insurance and there are no financial records there at the Department of Insurance in that regard," said Scott.

"I feel terrible and it I think it's a disgrace," said Mary Frances Willis.

Willis says she has pre-paid for her plot and now she is worried about the what-ifs.

"I have a plot. When I die, what are my children are going do when I have already paid. It's too many of us senior citizens who can't work, not able to work or buy anymore plots. I hope they get something done," said Willis.

State representatives are working to get something done. Everyone was told to get proof of their contracts, fill out complaint forms and send them to department of insurance.

"It's very important the Department of Insurance knows the gravity of this situation and the number of people who are involved. It'll bring more of a concentrated effort of help us solve the problems we're faced with," said Scott.

People who have loved ones buried at the cemetery were also told to fill out complaint forms and send information about their loved ones graves to the Department of Insurance. Fox6 called the cemetery owner's attorney, Fred Garfield, but it was after business hours when we learned about all these latest allegations.

The only thing Fox6 has heard from the cemetery's attorney so far, was in a statement saying, in part, that a change of ownership may be considered for the cemetery and a period of transition is underway.

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