Mississippi seizes four cemeteries, appoints receiver

By WLOX Staff

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The Secretary of State's office is taking over four Mississippi cemeteries left in "a state of disarray."

The action took place in Prentiss County Chancery Court Tuesday. Chancellor John Hatcher appointed the Office of the Secretary of State as temporary Receiver/overseer of four cemeteries owned by Don Middleton of Rogers Memorial Management, LLC. They are Prentiss Memorial Park in Baldwyn, Sunset Gardens Memorial Park in Laurel, Liberty Memorial Park in Booneville, and Pinecrest Memorial Park in Pittsboro.

"Unfortunately, our Office has seen this before in Vicksburg," Secretary Hosemann said.  "We conducted several audits of cemeteries across the State.  In several cases, those cemeteries have had their trust funds misappropriated, and its customers left holding the bag."

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has appointed Phillip Wedgeworth of Laurel, Mississippi to assist with the Receiver's duties and responsibilities.

"Don Middleton has left these four cemeteries in such a state of disarray, the Judge had no other option but to appoint our Office as overseer of these properties," Hosemann said.

"Mr. Wedgeworth will take over the day-to-day operations of the cemeteries and begin the complicated process of determining what funds are available to carry out the responsibilities of running the cemeteries.  Our goal is to continue this Receivership only until these cemeteries can be returned to private, trustworthy management."

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