For Immediate Release: February 01, 2010
Source: The Vicksburg Post
Hosemann was champion Green Acres needed
A year ago the situation was looking pretty grim for people who owned grave
spaces in Green
Acres Memorial Park
as well as for those whose loved ones are buried there.
In the highest tradition of public service, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann
waded into the financial and record-keeping morass created by the owners of the
private cemetery and, a year later, most everything is set aright. Citizens are
often under the assumption that government officials will, as Hosemann did,
perform their legal responsibilities. That's just not true. It would have been
easy for him or others in authority to look the other way, define their
responsibilities differently -- and leave defrauded customers with no remedy.
The 15-acre cemetery, created about 60 years ago, was well-managed and well-kept
until it came under group ownership. After the principal owner, Mike W. Graham
of Houston, Texas, died in 2007, bookkeeping went into disarray.
Hosemann got involved when state-required informational reports were not filed.
He found trust and other accounts raided or depleted. About 700 people who had
paid in advance for plots had to rush to record their deeds and all who prepaid
for merchandise and services have lost some or all that money.
While there's little chance the pilfered money will ever be recovered, Green
Acres is operating under the experienced stewardship of Vicksburg businessman Harry Sharp and maintenance has
Hosemann also went to the Legislature and won approval of improvements designed
to make cemetery owners and all sellers of pre-need services more accountable.
It's an area where state law was far too vague.
A year ago, the clients, living and dead, of Green Acres
Memorial Park, needed a champion.
The secretary of state didn't respond with obfuscation or doublespeak. He showed
us how government is supposed to work.