Former client shocked by allegations against Petoskey funeral home

Former client shocked by allegations against Petoskey funeral home

EMMET COUNTY, Mich, (WPBN/WGTU) -- State investigators are expected to be at a Petoskey funeral home for the rest of the week.

The Charles G. Parks Funeral Home was ordered by the state to shut down Wednesday for multiple violations.

The Michigan Funeral Directors Association says the allegations against the funeral home were shocking.

The report from LARA says the funeral home had violations ranging from an unclean embalming room, to mishandling of money.

“The facility had been remodeled, it was clean, they even went in and got a piece of jewelry for my mother that I had asked for," said Dot Keevis, who had her mother's funeral at Charles G. Parks Funeral Home three years ago. "They were wonderful. The entire experience was wonderful.”

Keevis was shocked to hear the state's allegations against the funeral home.

“I was shocked and I was honestly mortified, because I don’t think anyone gave them the chance to speak and it just became kind of like a witch hunt," Keevis said.

The funeral home's owner was also surprised.

He says he has never been accused of any violations in his 35 years in business.

LARA's report alleged a possible worm infestation and a rusty machete sitting in the funeral home's embalming room.

“There is no worm infestation at all," said Charles Parks. "Rusty machete, yes I will tell you that there was one sitting there on the counter, one that was dropped out back behind the funeral home trimming stuff, and it was found plowing back there and anyway, it was brought in.”

Parks said some of the allegations were true, like keeping the cremated remains of his late pet pig on the same shelf as containers with cremated human remains in them.

Possibly the most serious allegation was the alleged failure to escrow money from prepaid funeral arrangements.

“If the moneys are not properly deposited, then there’s a real risk that the funds will not be there to provide the funeral at the time of need," said Phil Douma, the executive director of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association.

“I did do a couple of things wrong," Parks said. "They found two prearrangements here that I had that were over 30 days old that were paid cash. The cash was in the envelopes when they opened it, inside the fireproof safe.”

The Michigan Funeral Home Association recommends visiting facilities and meeting with funeral directors, as well as searching online on LARA's website to see if it has any past violations.

The Charles G. Parks Funeral Home is not part of the association.

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