Carter Funeral Chapels remains closed

February 21, 2012 3:50:06 PM PST
The owner of a South Side Chicago funeral home is defending his business practices after he was cited for failing to provide adequate conditions for nine bodies he had inside.

Owner Harry Carter III is blaming others and says he is not at fault.

An ordinance violation was slapped on Carter Monday, specifically saying that Carter Funeral Chapels failed to deliver the proper care, shelter and disposition of deceased human remains. The owner, who has a long list of problems dating over several years, is speaking out in his defense.

"I was shocked. We don't operate that way at Carter," said Carter.

Carter doesn't deny that when police went through his funeral home Monday they found bodies placed on top of each other and in places they should not have been. But, he says, he did not put them there and believes disgruntled employees may have been out to get him.

"There's no other explanation," Carter said. "Because we have a body storage room with ample space."

Police spent 16 hours inside Carter Funeral Chapels Monday along with building and health inspectors. They were brought in after officers investigating what they thought was a break-in found the building had no power and no heat.

Carter admits he owes ComEd $50,000, but his problems don't stop there: His funeral director's license was suspended four years ago, and Tuesday, he refused to answer questions as to whether the person listed as funeral director on clients' death certificates actually works on the premises.

And then there are all the unhappy clients who have been waiting for months to get their loved ones' ashes.

"It's been horrific. Sleepless nights. No answers," said Julia Bailey, deceased's daughter.

Carter blames the doctors who did not sign the death certificates on time. But Mark Wolfe, who is still waiting for his mother-in-law Vicki Moore's ashes two months after her death, says Carter needs to take responsibility.

"It's not their fault. It's your fault. What have you done to talk to these people to say 'Hey, you know, what's going on with this, this, this?' He did nothing," said Wolfe.

On Monday, police gave Carter 24 hours to transport the nine bodies on the premises to other funeral homes. Three remained Tuesday afternoon.