Steve Rogers

About Steve Rogers

Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

Video: Booneville Cemetery Back in Private Hands

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BOONEVILLE, Miss. — Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann announced the sale of Oaklawn Memorial Park in Booneville to Jeff Rencher of Corinth, Miss., Tuesday.

“When our Agency was first named as Receiver of Oaklawn, the books, records and finances of this cemetery were in shambles,” says Secretary Hosemann. “Our staff has worked diligently to piece this property back together for public sale. Our goal has always been to return Oaklawn to private ownership.”

In November 2011, the Secretary of State was appointed Receiver of Oaklawn Memorial Park after former owner, Wayne Hight, was failed to adequately trust 85% of funds received for funeral services and merchandise as required by State law and misapplying or converting pre-need funds. Hight was indicted for his actions and was sentenced to ten years in jail, with six suspended. He is currently in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

“When individuals purchase a preneed funeral arrangement, and the trust fund is raided by the cemetery owner, the victim loses everything,” says Secretary Hosemann. “With the purchase of this cemetery by Mr. Rencher, we are able to move forward with this cemetery and victims will have some closure.”

“I am happy to have Oaklawn Cemetery and look forward to rehabilitating the property to make it even more of a place people can be proud to call and make their final arrangements,” says Mr. Rencher.

Jeff Rencher’s successful bid on the property includes:

· A $3,456 cash payment;

· A 25% discount on burial containers or burial vaults for individuals with previous Oaklawn preneed contracts; and,

· A minimum discount of 30% up to a maximum of 50% for grave opening and closings for individuals with Oaklawn preneed contracts.