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State shuts down Petoskey funeral home for multiple violations

March 7, 2018

PETOSKEY — Due to multiple violations of Michigan’s Occupational Code and the Prepaid Funeral and Cemetery Sales Act and an imminent threat to the public health, safety, or welfare, the Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has summarily suspended the mortuary science establishment license of Charles G. Parks Funeral Home in Petoskey, MI, the individual mortuary science license of owner Charles Guy Parks, Jr., and the prepaid funeral and cemetery sales registration of the funeral home. Orders of summary suspension were issued by LARA’s Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing (CSCL) bureau.

CSCL inspectors found deplorable, unsanitary conditions and other violations that included:

  • 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 on March 6, 2018, in an unrefrigerated garage since January 2018, pending burial in May 2018; and in an unrefrigerated chapel, following funeral services held on 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.

  • No current medical waste producer registration.

  • Fraud or deceit in obtaining a license or registration.

  • Fraud, deceit, or dishonesty, incompetence, and gross negligence in the practice of mortuary science.

Charles G. Parks Funeral Home has 60 days to either assign its existing prepaid contracts to another person registered under the Prepaid Act and notify the Department and contract buyers of the assignment within 30 days of the assignment, or to cancel the contracts and issue refunds to each contract buyer, providing copies of refund checks and correspondence to each contract buyer to the Department within 90 days, unless the Department modifies, vacates, or extends the terms of the Order.

Respondents also have the right to request a hearing to dissolve the orders or to meet with the Department to demonstrate compliance with the law or engage in voluntary settlement negotiations. CSCL’s investigation of the funeral home is ongoing and could result in additional charges after the investigation is complete.

A person who converts funds paid pursuant to a prepaid contract to his or her own use or benefit other than as authorized by the Prepaid Act or who fails to escrow or trust funds according to the Prepaid Act is guilty of a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000 or imprisonment of not more than five years, or both, for each violation. A person who violates any other provision of the Prepaid Act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, for each violation.

“Michigan residents trust funeral home directors, owners, and their establishments to follow the law especially when dealing with the death of a loved one,” said CSCL Director Julia Dale. “We will continue to aggressively hold every funeral home in Michigan to the highest standards of public health and safety when providing final arrangements.”

CSCL will allow Charles G. Parks Funeral Home to complete funeral services that were in process as of March 6 or refer families to another licensed funeral home before the license suspension becomes effective March 9, 2018. 

Members of the public who have questions or concerns regarding the operation of Charles G. Parks Funeral Home may contact the Securities & Audit Division within LARA’s Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing bureau at 517-335-5237, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.  to 5 p.m., or by email at LARA-CSCL-Securities-Audit@mic

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