Governor’s Office now asking questions about cemetery

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Pushing for answers for worried families, we’re continuing our investigation of a cemetery that suddenly closed without explanation.

A number of viewers have contacted us about George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens and we’ve been working to explain the situation there.

The uncertainty of not knowing whether a loved one’s final resting place is secure is causing some families a great deal of worry.

In some cases, people are also worried about their prepaid burial plots.

We have uncovered some additional names that might be able to provide some answers, but we are not ready to release those names yet.  At the same time we are piecing this together and now have new information that will hopefully settle some of the uncertainty in the near future.

The grass roots effort meant to bring concerned families together at George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens led to a massive clean up over the weekend.

It also demonstrated that people are unwilling to give up on the cemetery which has held funerals as recently as last month.

We have encountered and interviewed several people with concerns about prepaid burial plots, undelivered or status unknown grave markers and overgrown grass.

The management has been silent since a worker first told us the cemetery would be closing two weeks ago.

We’ve tracked down names, numbers and documents and found a lot of dead ends from the office’s non-working phone number to the names of deceased attorneys which appear on state business records from recent years.

We also came across the name of a living attorney who reportedly represents the owner of the cemetery.  We’ve sent emails and left messages, but haven’t heard back.

However, one of the state representatives over that district is making headway in opening the lines of communication.

Representative Juandalynn Givan says she was able to make contact and she’s working to keep other elected leaders in the loop.

“He reached out again today to state to me that he had met as late as yesterday with his client. He will be meeting again with the owner of Carver Memorial Gardens Cemetery and he is trying to gather as much information and hopefully will be making a statement soon, but of course because of the attorney client privilege level of confidentiality that are involved regarding that privilege, he of course cannot say anything until he is given permission, by his, by the owner his client,” said Rep. Givan.

“The Governor’s office has been extremely helpful. They are putting me in contact with the various departments that may have some jurisdiction over this matter. I’ve spoken with the Governor’s office several times this morning as well as several times yesterday.  They have called me as a follow up. They have also reached out, the Governor’s office has also reached out to the attorney representing the owner of Carver Cemetery,” said Rep. Givan.

Representative Givan is hosting a town hall meeting that’s scheduled for six pm in the auditorium of Jackson-Olin High School.

She is asking anyone with documentation of a purchase or transaction at the cemetery to bring that paperwork with them Thursday night.

We will continue to bring you the very latest developments on this story as we turn over new information.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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