The receiver in charge of Fairview Memorial Park in Berlin Township filed a report recently stating that he believes he will soon have a contract of sale to submit to the court.
A.C. Strip, a Columbus attorney, was appointed to be the receiver for the cemetery, 5035 Columbus Pike, in May 2017 and has been managing the cemetery’s affairs ever since.
The cemetery’s owners, Theodore and Arminda Martin, were charged with felony theft in 2016 for selling items, but never delivering them at the cemetery.
Theodore and Arminda Martin were sentenced to five years and four-and-a-half years in prison, respectively, after they pleaded guilty to 14 and 15 theft charges, respectively. They were also ordered last year to pay restitution to 67 victims in the amount of more than $183,000.
Similar proceedings are underway in Portage County, where the Martins own another cemetery, Grandview Memorial Park.
Strip delivered his seventh regular report on Feb. 26 in which he reported calls about the cemetery from people checking on plots or items have decreased. Strip also noted he is in discussions to sell the cemetery.
“The number of new claims coming in have diminished substantially and are now finding their way to the receiver on a much more sporadic basis — probably about one a week,” Strip wrote in the report. Strip wrote that all the claims he has heard since May total in more than $383,276.53
Strip said he does not expect to receive any more claims.
Strip reports he has overseen a number of burials at the cemetery and added the cemetery is operating in a “business as usual” fashion.
The report also contained an update about the future of the cemetery, which Strip has been trying to sell.
“Most important, the Receiver has continued to seek purchasers for the cemetery and for the attached acreage,” Strip said. “I am pleased to report that there are ongoing discussions as to a buyer and it is believed that we will soon have a contract to submit to the court.”
On March 7, Kenneth Goldberg, an attorney working with Strip, filed a Notice of Filing of Title Commitment for Receivership Property, and he stated that the notice was filed “in anticipation of submission of a proposed sale of real estate in the near future.”
Goldberg filed a motion on Tuesday asking that three other parties, including the Ohio Department of Taxation, be added to the case because the three parties hold liens on the cemetery real estate.
There have been no additional filings since Tuesday.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.