Home » NEWS » Secretary of State sells cemeteries for $1 each

Secretary of State sells cemeteries for $1 each

The Mississippi Secretary of State’s office will soon be out of the cemetery business in Laurel and North Mississippi.

Two of the distressed properties went to a church and a non-profit group, respectively, for bids of $1, and the others went to a pair of funeral homes for bids of $12,500 and $20,100, respectively.

The bids were accompanied by commitments to maintain the cemeteries, said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Hosemann had placed the cemeteries – Liberty Memorial Park, Pinecrest Memorial Gardens, Prentiss Memorial Gardens and Sunset Memorial Gardens – into receivership after a joint investigation with the Attorney General’s office. All four cemeteries placed into receivership have now been ordered “sold” by Prentiss County Chancellor John Hatcher, the Secretary of State’s Office said in a press statement.

Prosecutors won a conviction against Don Middleton, former owner of the four cemeteries, on two counts of failure to file cemetery records. He has been sentenced to 12 months in jail and fined $1,800.

“We are now taking the final steps towards our goal of placing these cemeteries back into private, credible ownership,” Hosemann said. “Our team in the Secretary of State’s and Attorney General’s Offices worked hard to release or satisfy millions of dollars in liens, clear title and accept bids on the cemeteries.”

Attorney General Jim Hood said Judge Hatcher’s order “gives the victims assurance that the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried will be cared for in the rightful manner.”
Here are the properties Hatcher ordered sold to bidders:

* Liberty Memorial Park, Booneville — Liberty United Methodist Church; Bid: $1.

* Pinecrest Memorial Park, Pittsboro — Pinecrest of Calhoun County, a nonprofit Mississippi corporation; Bid: $1.

* Prentiss Memorial Gardens, Baldwyn — Waters Funeral Home, Baldwyn; Bid: Cash payment of $12,500; victim assistance through discounted products and services; upgrades and capital improvements for sidewalks, landscaping, and cemetery access roads; and establishing a veteran’s section. Waters Funeral Home agrees to be contractually bound to perform the upgrades promised in the bid proposal.

* Sunset Gardens Memorial Park, Laurel — Tutor Funeral Home, Magee; Bid: Cash payment of $20,100.
Of the $32,602.00 in cash pledged on the cemeteries, approximately $15,790 will be paid to the Internal Revenue Service to pay back taxes for liens against the properties. After expenses, the remaining portion will go to the perpetual care trust for that cemetery.

BEFORE YOU GO…

… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About Ted Carter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*