Contact 2: Cemetery Struggles

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EDWARDSVILLE, IL. (KTVI) - Pre- paid funeral arrangements work for some.  But a Metro East family tells us they hit a brick wall after burying their mom.  This family has been waiting for four years to get the marker made and placed.  Now they're facing more delays that could extend that wait.

Kim Rogers tells me her mom; Loretta Sunderland bought a prepaid funeral package in 1975.  It includes a bronze memorial.  Sunderland died in 2008 but there's no memorial at her grave in Valley View Cemetery in Edwardsville. Kim says her mom should get what she paid for.

'I want that.  My mom deserves that.  She`s had that paid for way before she even went to heaven.  '

And the family's not happy about the way the 40 acre cemetery looks either.  Kim says they do a lot themselves.  

‘We got to go out there ourselves and pick the weeds off our relative`s plots. '

Ownership of Valley View is in dispute.  A Federal Court judge is trying to sort out who holds the title.  And an Illinois Circuit Judge put it into receivership in 2009.  The receiver says the money that was entrusted to provide prearrangements disappeared.   

The Receiver can sell the cemetery once the title clears. The asking price includes replacement of funds for those prearranged contracts.  

On Sept. 7th 2012 Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan won the release of funds from the cemetery consumer protection fund on behalf of others with prepaid agreements at Valley View and a Belleville cemetery.   

The Illinois Cemetery Oversight Act was approved two years ago.  It requires cemeteries and managers be licensed by Dec. 31, 2012.  Owners, managers and Customer Service staff will have to be certified to ensure they understand the industry.  They will also have to submit to background checks.  That's a start for people like Kim.   

'I`ve fought and fought and fought with these people, and I feel like I`m not getting justice. '

If you are a relative of someone who made prearrangements and have not gotten all that was paid for, you should contact the Attorney General`s office.  

Remember the Cemetery Oversight Act is there to ensure Illinois cemeteries are more accountable to their customers and state officials.  For details on the act and consumer rights at cemeteries click this link.

A group of volunteers are planning a clean- up day at Valley View Cemetery on Oct. 6th.  If you have a weed eater/edger and you'd like to help call Jack Minner at 618-974-9673.

If you have a consumer issue, call our Contact 2 volunteers.  They take calls Monday through Thursday between 11am and 1pm; the number is (800) 782-2222.