Hosemann: Petal cemetery owes $22,477 to perpetual care fund

By HASKEL BURNS,

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann issued a statement this week stating officials from Forrest Memorial Gardens Cemetery on Carterville Road in Petal have not abided by a 2012 consent agreement to put an appropriate amount of funds into the cemetery’s perpetual care trust.

The consent agreement, which is between the cemetery and the Secretary of State’s Regulation and Enforcement Division, states 15 percent of the sales price of ground interments must be remitted to the cemetery’s perpetual care trust. According to the agreement, cemetery officials have not remitted the proper amount of funds, and owe $22,477 to the trust.

As per terms of the agreement, cemetery officials agreed to deposit at least $374.62 per month for 59 months, as well as that same amount for a last payment.

Because of the violation of the terms of the agreement, officials from Hosemann’s office are asking to meet with any individuals who have pre-purchased cemetery or funeral goods or services from Forrest Memorial Gardens.

Hosemann’s staff will be available from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 25 at Petal Civic Center, 714 South Main Street. Attendees are asked to bring clear, legible copies of documents of purchases made from Forrest Memorial Gardens. The copies will be kept by the Secretary of State’s Office.

“Further, it has come to the agency’s attention that pre-need funeral sales have occurred without the cemetery having a funding mechanism in place,” Hosemann said in an email. “We are asking the public to come forward with any documentation or evidence they have of pre-purchases.”

Pre-purchased goods are defined as services or items that have been paid for or are being paid for in advance. Examples include caskets, burial containers, memorial markers or grave opening and closing fees.

Individuals who have purchased grave spaces from Forrest Memorial Gardens, but have not purchased cemetery or funeral goods and services, do not need to attend the meeting.