It’s going to take more money to fix the problems at Sunset Memorial Park.
The owner also needs to get his license back, which could be difficult.
We’ve been covering the problems at the cemetery for years, but just in the past week, we finally heard from its owner and got lawmakers to help round up volunteers after grave sites started caving in.
Owner Rev. Lago Dozinn has filled the sunken graves thanks to a donation from family members. He told us there’s $197,000 in the cemetery’s Perpetual Care Trust account. He can use the interest in that account, but only after he gets his license back.
His application is currently being reviewed by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
“We want to make sure that the person is financially sound. That means bringing your own financial bond to prove that you have the financial ability to run a cemetery,” said DCCA deputy director JoAnn Uchida Takeuchi.
We’ve learned that the license expired 20 years ago. Dozinn said he doesn’t have any money, which is why the cemetery has not been maintained.
He also said he would need to do some fundraising in order to secure a $50,000 bond required for the license.
“If he doesn’t get his license, we are looking at what other options are available. Maybe legislation is necessary, maybe other types of extraordinary relief is necessary,” said Takeuchi.
Takeuchi says the Sunset Memorial situation is unique so the state will have to come up with a solution that’s out of the box.
If Dozinn doesn’t get his license, who else would want to take over and run the cemetery? Nanette Napoleon, a board member from Oahu Cemetery, says one option is for family members to take over as a non-profit group.
“Do they have the wherewithal to manage the cemetery? That’s not what they signed up for. They’re not cemetery managers, so they would have to start from scratch to learn all of this,” she said.
Napoleon plans to ask Dozinn a lot of questions on behalf of the family members at Saturday’s meeting, so they can have a better picture of what can actually happen.
“The question is how does he propose to keep this cemetery up given the fact that he has no inventory and such and with only probably a small amount to draw off of the trust account?” Napoleon said.
Dozinn plans to meet with families at 9 a.m. in the cemetery.