It's only getting worse

The Burr Oak mess is becoming bigger each and every day. Now we have a utilies worker calling WBBM news radio 4 years ago saying he saw hundreds of bones, skulls, caskets, etc. And nothing was done. He even called the Alsip Police, yet nothing happened. Now this information is coming out. Why aren't they investigating this? Or maybe thats also on the long list which is only getting longer of things that need to be investigated.

Todd Stroger is still trying to find the more money to deal with this. Todd Stroger also said that four times a year cemeteries will be visited by the county, instead of one, with no reference to the cost of this. Todd Stroger said the FBI is there and hopefully they will bring in more FBI. Yes, I am sure that would help Todd with the expenses.

Sheriff Tom Dart showed the records of index cards that were molded together, by green mold. Note to Tom Dart, this needs to done under a biohazard hood in the laboratory, there are all kinds of nasty airborne spores that could cause more problems when released, and there are enough lawsuits going on now with Burr Oaks related problems.

On Garrard McClendon Live, each night on CLTV news he has been taking calls all week from people who have been affected by the Burr Oak Cemetery discoveries. Heartbreaking, you can only listen to so much.

Day-to-day operation of the scandal-ridden Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip has been wrested from the owners and turned over to the head of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Catholic Cemeteries.

During a Wednesday court hearing, Cook County Circuit Judge Stuart Palmer appointed Roman Szabelski, executive director of Catholic Cemeteries, to temporarily oversee Burr Oak, which has been closed by sheriff's police as a crime scene.

The appointment comes a week after four Burr Oak employees were arrested and accused of pocketing about $300,000 by digging up old bodies, dumping them in a mass grave in the cemetery and reselling the old plots off the books.

With lawsuits piling up and cemetery owner Perpetua Inc. a no-show at both the 150-acre site and in court proceedings about the management - and alleged mismanagement - of the cemetery, the judge moved quickly to put the cemetery into receivership.

Szabelski has extensive experience managing cemeteries. Catholic Cemeteries operates 47 cemeteries in Cook and Lake counties, handled 17,500 burials in 2008 and maintains more than 2.4 million gravesites.
Szabelski, who was out of town Wednesday, issued a statement to those whose loved ones' gravesites may have been desecrated at Burr Oak.

"I wish to assure them that I will work diligently to see to the respectful interment of their loved ones' remains," he said, adding that he would communicate with the judge and affected families about his progress.

His appointment was suggested during Wednesday's hearing by county and state agencies involved in investigating the alleged crimes at burr Oak. Attorneys representing the families of loved ones suing the cemetery agreed to the appointment.

What remained unclear is how Szabelski might be paid, but his attorney says he's not concerned about that.

"We're hoping ultimately it doesn't result in work for no pay," attorney James Geoly said. "But if it happens that way, it's a risk he's willing to take."

Also Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st), of Chicago, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, asking that the Justice Department open a criminal investigation into the "shameful enterprise" at Burr Oak.

The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs says it has turned over information on 2,000 veterans buried at Burr Oak Cemetery to the sheriff's office.

It is a small piece of the puzzle: 2,000 grave sites out of 100,000 at Burr Oak.

Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Sabrina Miller says the department has turned over information about the grave locations to the sheriff's office.

"We had not previously been asked, but we do have this information and we believe it will be useful to the sheriff's office, which we're certain is overwhelmed at this point with the criminal investigation. And we did turn that information over to them."


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