MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance has fined StoneMor-owned cemeteries at a higher rate since the Problem Solvers started covering their issues, according to a WREG analysis of state documents.
When the Problem Solvers first met Eddie Hayslett in the summer of 2021, he was mourning his late wife and having major issues with Forest Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park East, the cemetery where she’s buried.
His daughter saw the first Problem Solvers story on another StoneMor-owned cemetery, which revealed issues with the company.
When the family contacted the Problem Solvers, they also learned they could file a complaint with the Tennessee Board of Funeral Directors. When Hayslett submitted his complaint, he wrote “it’s been more than nine months and my wife still does not have a headstone,” mentioned the WREG story and wrote he hoped “the state will force some change.”
Turns out, Hayslett wasn’t alone. In the year since the Problem Solvers first story on StoneMor aired, WREG tracked more than 30 other disciplinary actions against the company with fines totaling more than $70,000. That’s three times more disciplinary actions than the state doled out in the year before.
“I’m sure a lot of people didn’t know they could file a complaint,” Hayslett said. “You have to pay for your consequences. They should’ve been fined.”
WREG also spoke with State Senator Ed Jackson (R- Madison County) when body fluids were found leaking from a mausoleum at a StoneMor cemetery in Jackson.
“They’re a large company; third largest in the States for cemetery, mausoleum, funeral home management,” he said.
He brought the matter to the head of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and said the Problem Solvers reporting made an impact.
“For public knowledge to know what’s happening and going on is important and I think did play a big part in their reaction and in getting them making improvements,” Jackson said. “They have spent over $100,000 on a new roof and new interior of the mausoleum in Jackson.”
In response, StoneMor marketing executive Lindsay Granson said in a statement that they had agreed on the fines.
“We have received complaints from the TN Board and we are working with them to come to a mutually agreeable resolution,” Granson’s statement said.
“Most people didn’t know what was going on there. They was exposed so they had to take care of some of the things that were exposed,” Hayslett said.
In Hayslett’s case, he said they finally installed his wife’s headstone.
“I feel like you had a great part in solving the problem,” Hayslett said.
If you have an issue with a StoneMor cemetery or any other, you can always file a complaint with the state to launch an investigation.
The Problem Solvers have been requesting interviews with StoneMor management in Memphis for more than a year now. So far, they have rejected our requests.