Funeral home shut down for 'deplorable' conditions
EMMET COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- A rusty machete on the counter in the embalming room, human cremains stored alongside the cremains of a pet dog and pig, embalmed bodies in an unrefrigerated garage - these are just a few of the violations state inspectors used to shut down a Petoskey funeral home.
The Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced Wednesday it suspended the mortuary science establishment license for the Charles G. Parks Funeral Home for multiple violations.
LARA's Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau investigated the funeral home and said conditions were very unsanitary.
Inspectors cited the following violations:
• An unclean and unsanitary embalming room, with a rusty machete on the counter, dirty sinks, and unsanitized tools; overflowing garbage receptacles and baseboard trim showing evidence of suspected worm infestation that was peeling away from the wall.
• Storage of human cremains alongside cremains of the owner’s dog and pet pig; and otherwise unidentified cremains.
• Improper storage of embalmed bodies found in an unrefrigerated garage since January 2018, pending burial in May 2018; and in an unrefrigerated chapel, found March 2, 2018.
• Wooden caskets with blood-stained cardboard inside of them in the loft area above the funeral home and garage.
• Failure to escrow at least $4,935 for prepaid funeral goods or services related to two prepaid funeral contracts (a preliminary assessment in this ongoing investigation).
• Failure to deposit monies with an authorized escrow agent within 30 days of receipt.
• Fraud and deceit in obtaining a license or registration; incompetence in the practice of mortuary science, and gross negligence in practicing an occupation.
“People come in to these establishments looking for the care of a loved one after they’ve passed and what we saw in this instance was just a level of uncleanliness, conditions that suggested infestation, conditions where we see bodies that had not been appropriately stored after being embalmed and we know that’s not the type of care we want for our loved ones,” said Julia Dale, the Director of the Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing Bureau of LARA.
The funeral home's owner said he was caught off guard by some of the allegations.
"They thought that my back room and back area was a little too cluttered, but I had quite a few services right in a row," said Charles Parks, the owner of the funeral home. "I hadn't got to cleaning it yet, but it was not that bad."
Parks said the building does not have a worm infestation, and the rusty machete that was mentioned had been brought in from outside.
The funeral home has 60 days to either assign their customers who have already paid to another person or cancel the contracts and give customers refunds.
The funeral home was allowed to finish services that were in the process Tuesday.
Their license suspension goes into effect Friday.
Charles Parks said he does plan to ask for a hearing to explain himself.
If you or someone you know has questions call Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau at (517) or email LARA-CSCL-Securities-Audit@michigan.gov.
Read the report below.