Lamesa Memorial Park Receivership and Proceedings
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In conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General, on Wednesday October 5, 2016, the Department of Banking (Department) was appointed as the temporary receiver of Lamesa Memorial Park (Lamesa) by the 106th District Court of Dawson County. Previously, a temporary restraining order (TRO) was issued against Lamesa by the Dawson court on September 23, 2016. The following is intended to answer questions regarding these proceedings and the receivership.
How do I file a claim with the Department?
Complete the Claim Information Form. All claims must be filed with the Temporary Receiver on an approved Proof of Claim Form postmarked or presented on or before 5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, USA, on December 9, 2016 to Russell Reese, Temporary Receiver, 2601 North Lamar, Austin, Texas 78705. Claims filed by fax or email will not be accepted.
Why did the Department seek to be appointed as receiver?
The current owners of Lamesa Memorial Park have been incarcerated and are unable to operate the cemetery as required by the Texas Health and Safety Code. Violations of the Health and Safety Code have harmed and continue to threaten the rights of plot owners and their families. As receiver, the Department’s goal is to begin the process of restoring the cemetery and transferring it to new ownership.
Why was a Temporary Restraining Order issued against Lamesa?
A TRO was issued by the District Court as a caution to ensure that cemetery funds and records were not lost while the Department awaited the October 5th hearing to be appointed receiver.
What does it mean that the Department is appointed as receiver of the cemetery?
A receiver is a person appointed by the court to act on behalf of a business in order to protect the interests of all parties. As receiver, the Department will be directed by the court to take the actions necessary to bring Lamesa into compliance with the Health and Safety Code and prevent further harm to plot owners and their families.
How long will the Department act as receiver?
The Department will act as receiver until the Dawson court orders otherwise. It is anticipated that the court will allow the Department to act as receiver until the cemetery is able to be transferred to new owners that are capable of operating the cemetery properly for the benefit of plot owners and the public.
Will the cemetery operate as normal while the Department is receiver?
The Department’s first priority is to remediate the problems posing the greatest threat to the rights of current plot owners and their families. Then, the receiver will work towards the transfer of the cemetery to a person or organization that will operate the cemetery in the future. With that in mind, the Department does not expect that the cemetery will be able to offer a full range of cemetery services during the receivership.
Will ground maintenance be performed?
The Department anticipates being able to work with local contractors to minimally maintain the cemetery grounds, such as mowing the grass. However, there are limited funds to care for the cemetery so plot owners’ patience will be appreciated. State funds may not be used by the receiver.
Am I able to purchase a new plot?
The Department will not be actively selling new plots during its time as receiver. In very limited circumstances at-need plot purchases will be allowed, such as the death of a loved one who’s spouse is buried at Lamesa.
What if I currently own a plot and need to use it for a burial?
The Department is working with local contractors capable of opening and closing graves so that anyone currently in possession of a deed for a plot in Lamesa is able to be buried. Please contact Russell Reese, Director of Special Audits, at 806-759-5985 if you own a plot and need to arrange a burial.
What if I currently owe money on a plot?
If you have purchased a plot but have not yet paid for it in full, the Department will not be accepting further payments at this time. However, you are asked to provide the Department copies of your contract records, including payment history, to update the cemetery’s records. Your payment schedule will resume when a new owner takes over. Information can be sent to Lamesa@dob.texas.gov or Lamesa Receiver, c/o Texas Department of Banking, 2601 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, Texas 78705.
Can I have a headstone or marker ordered or placed?
Lamesa will not be selling markers during the receivership; however, markers may be purchased through third-party vendors. Please email Lamesa@dob.texas.gov if you need to get a marker set.
Who may I contact if I have a question or complaint?
Please email questions and complaints to Lamesa@dob.texas.gov.