George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens Inc., which closed its doors in September, has sought bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy law. Although the company, which owns a cemetery in the gardens, has been struggling financially for several years, residents with loved ones buried in the gardens and those who have purchased plots are concerned about the filing.
Company President Louie Reese III, the firm's sole director and a shareholder, said that Chapter 7 bankruptcy was the best course of action, according to court documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Under Chapter 7 proceedings, a trustee will be assigned to the case and sell the debtor's nonexempt assets, the proceedings of which will be used to pay creditors. The firm named 38 creditors in court documents, which include the Alabama Department of Revenue, the Internal Revenue Service and the State of Alabama Commission of Insurance. The company listed between $500,000 and $1 million in liabilities and less than $100,000 in assets, according to Alabama news station ABC 3340.
Following the announcement, more than 1,000 people attended a public forum to express their concerns about the closing and ask questions about how the cemetery will be maintained. Some voiced their fears about misplaced graves, while others who have pre-purchased plots demanded to know what course of action they would be permitted to take, according to AL.com.
The filing is expected to bring about several lawsuits against G.W. Carver Memorial Gardens. During the public forum, which was hosted by state Rep. Juandalynn Givan, angered residents who have already purchased plots in the cemetery were urged to file formal complaints against the company with the state Department of Insurance, the news source reports. It is unclear how many individuals plan to take action against the company.