Inspectors Discover Leaking Body Fluids in TN Mausoleum
JACKSON, Tennessee – The operator of StoneMor cemetery has let the mausoleum at one of its Jackson facility fall into extreme disrepair, resulting in bodily leaks and the facility shutting down, according to Tennessee regulators.
The issues arise after a series of similar issues exposed by WREG at StoneMor’s facilities in Memphis, including the three Forest Hill properties.
“If they don’t have enough people to take care of the bodies they’re trying to manipulate, I don’t want to give them one more,” said client Gail Mann.
Mann spoke to problem-solvers in responding to the rat infestation at the Whitten Road facility in Forest Hill, which led the state to say two bodies in their care had parts eaten. They fined StoneMor $ 14,000.
The WREG Problem Solvers also covered the decaying mausoleum at the Whitehaven site and other lingering management issues our viewers brought to our attention.
“You call, half the time you don’t even get a reception. No return calls, ”said Eddie Hayslett, Whitten Road customer.
Now Tennessee regulators are getting involved in another StoneMor property in western Tennessee.
“It really has become a huge problem,” State Senator Ed Jackson (R-Madison) said.
Jackson first learned of the problem from his neighbor, whose wife is buried in the mausoleum at Highlands Memorial Gardens in Jackson.
“He said he smelled really bad. It took a lot of things. It was hot in there. The air conditioners were not working, ”he said.
Jackson contacted the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, whose inspectors then toured the facility.
“Tragically, there have been leaks of bodily fluids,” department spokesman Kevin Walters said.
The department has suspended Jackson’s cemetery from any new business.
“They can’t sell any property or bury anyone in the mausoleum,” Jackson said.
While visiting WREG, we found the doors to the mausoleum locked.
We also found two women frustrated with the conditions at the cemetery. They filed complaints similar to those from customers in Memphis.
“There is a wasp nest. The grass has to be mowed, ”said one woman.
But they weren’t aware of air conditioning issues or body leaks until problem solvers told them about it.
“I’m supposed to come in next to my husband. I don’t know how I feel about it now, ”she said.
The problem solvers went to the trade office to try to get answers as to why they allowed bodily leaks into the mausoleum.
A man who identified himself as a salesperson responded.
“You wouldn’t talk to me, you would talk to Lindsay Granson,” he said.
Granson is a Pennsylvania-based StoneMor marketing manager who has repeatedly turned down Problem Solvers interview requests. We asked if someone locally would be able to address customer concerns.
“I understand but I don’t agree so you have to talk to Lindsay Granson.” This is the person they have as their spokesperson for, ”the seller said.
When we asked him if he had a message to send to the local community, he asked us to stop recording.
That’s part of why state lawmakers are now tackling StoneMor’s problems.
“It’s a shame it must have come to this point,” Jackson said. “Eventually it will work, I promise you. Whatever we have to do, we’ll make it work.
In fact, he said he’s also working with Shelby County State Senator Brian Kelsey to hold StoneMor accountable.
Regulators also want the public to know that if they have problems, they should file a complaint.
“We can’t step in and take action until the public lets us know,” Walters said.
The state also still has the option of revoking StoneMor’s license to operate here and other locations in the state.
According to the company spokesperson, they are resolving the leakage issues in Jackson and have been in private contact with the affected families.
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