Even when aldermen think they’ve come up with a solution to end a dispute with a local funeral parlor owner over ownership of two grave spaces, a conclusion remains in the distance.
At the Feb. 19 board meeting, Aldermen Ed Gass and Brad Reed crafted an agreement to acknowledge that Jeff Palmore, owner of Bell Funeral Home, owned two grave spaces in Lot 135, a claim Palmore has been making for months.
Palmore said he purchased the lots when he bought Bell Funeral Home.
At that meeting, aldermen approved a measure for cemetery sexton Alan Bruns to change the official registry of Lot 135 grave ownership for three names, including two grave spaces owned by Palmore. On a third space, Bruns was asked to change the name from Dora Kemper to Hazel Alice Kemper.
But Palmore says having his name in the registry is not enough. He said when he buried Marvel Mason Sr. in 2007 in Resurrection Hill Cemetery, which the city also owns, the registry showed that Mason’s grandmother Nettie Brooks owned the space where he was buried, but the city required the family to purchase the space.
At that time, the city claimed that the Mason-Brooks family did not have a deed. Marvel Mason Jr. said his family could not find the deed, but he was certain his family owned the grave space.
Under state law, the only way grave space ownership can be conveyed is with a deed, Palmore said.
Speaking at the March 4 board meeting, Palmore thanked aldermen for determining that the lots were his property and asked that the mayor issue him deeds to the two spaces.
But City Attorney Dan Vogel said the city cannot give Palmore deeds to the grave spaces.
Because Palmore mentioned the Nettie Brooks ownership dispute, which is part of the litigation between the city and Palmore, Vogel said he was advising the city not to grant a request from Palmore.
“I’m not requesting anything to do with the Brooks-Mason grave spaces,” Palmore said. “That was just an example to show that the registry alone does not assure ownership.”
Adams asked for Palmore to come to city hall to meet with Vogel and City Administrator Harold Selby, but as of press time, no date has been set for the meeting.