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Cullman Memory Gardens Cemetery Resolution Drags On
Randall Shedd Comments
You may recall back in January 2016, Alabama House District 11 Representative Randall Shedd stepped up to deal with severe issues at Cullman Memory Garden Cemetery related to a bankruptcy by the owners of the facility, the rapid decline in facility maintenance, and questions around who is responsible for the deceased on-site and their next of kin.
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Shedd said at the time:
“We’ve waited long enough for a solution at Memory Gardens. I’m afraid we’re going to see more situations like it in the future. This legislation puts a mechanism in place to deal with it so that the families of loved ones at Cullman Memory Gardens and any other similar situation can get some relief from the disrespect they’ve experienced in this terrible situation.”
He went as far as conducting a full Public Hearing that drew a near capacity crowd to Cullman City Hall and proposing new legislation to address the situation. For background, see: http://cullmantoday.com/2016/01/19/randall-shedd-proposes-cullman-memory-gardens-solutions/
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Today, Representative Shedd comments on the situation in real time and explains the long delay in the resolution:
“The situation at Cullman Memory Gardens has been a long and frustrating turn of events, to say the least. Hopefully, this is the year families and the community will see the cemetery begin to return to the dignity all involved deserve.
I got involved in this issue because of the disrespect the whole situation is to those whose final resting place is there and the pain it causes their families. I personally don’t have family at Cullman Memory Gardens, but I do have lots of friends there including numerous veterans who put their lives on the line for our freedom.
I have given my best and done everything I can to address this problem. To say it is a complex matter is an understatement.
The current bankruptcy also involves three other cemeteries in Alabama, with 8,800 customers. Obviously, it has been a time-consuming process for the bankruptcy court.
This past week, I spoke at length with the bankruptcy trustee. A court hearing is scheduled for next month and then a 90 day period will exist for certain legal matters. After that, hopefully, there will not be further delay.”
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Let me remind everyone what has been done to try to address this problem:
“I sponsored and passed legislation in May of 2016 to establish a local Cemetery Board that would have the authority to own and operate Cullman Memory Gardens. However, since it is currently privately owned (but controlled by the federal bankruptcy court), the owner would have to agree to transfer the cemetery and all assets to the Board and the Board would have to agree to accept it.
In December 2016, I met with the investment company that owns the property by foreclosure, Cache Private Capital in Sandy, Utah. The company was amiable to transfer the property to the local Board once it is released by the bankruptcy court. Obviously, this could change if someone made a substantial financial offer to the company, however that is doubtful.
Once the bankruptcy court releases the property to the owners, if the owners (Cache Private Capital) are still willing to donate Cullman Memory Gardens to the local Board, then the legislative delegation could appoint board members who could activate the Board and negotiate the terms of the transfer.
The legal counsel at the company in Utah that I met with has changed, but I have spoken with the new legal counsel for the company and had no indication of a change of plans by the company other than if a substantial financial offer for the property was made it could change the owner’s plans. I just want everyone interested to know that.
This has been a difficult situation for all involved but I think it is important for everyone to understand, the effort has been made all through the process to address the problem.
Also, I commend the volunteers in the community who’ve spent many volunteer hours mowing and providing upkeep at the cemetery.
Other investor-owned cemeteries across the state are facing the same problems as Cullman Memory Gardens. One good thing that has resulted from our community addressing the problem with legislation, several other legislators used our legislation as a pattern for cemetery legislation in their communities.”
District 11, Alabama
House of Representatives
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Cullman Memory Gardens Cemetery
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Cullman Memory Gardens Cemetery Resolution Drags On
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