NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — A Church Hill cemetery was fined more than $1,400 for alleged financial and maintenance issues.

Records show Church Hill Memory Gardens was ordered to pay a $750 civil penalty plus $668 in investigation costs to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

The cemetery agreed to pay the department in a consent order signed in May to avoid further administrative action.

According to the state, a March 2021 audit found that the cemetery’s registration had expired four months prior and had not been renewed.

An additional audit conducted in November found the cemetery still had not obtained a valid cemetery registration and that for 13 contracts, the cemetery failed to deposit the minimum 20% (for a total of $780) from each contract into its improvement trust fund. State law requires cemeteries to deposit at least 20% of the total transaction amount for the land excluding the lawn crypt or $50, whichever is greater.

The November audit also found that the cemetery had failed to include required language in sales contracts and also made 14 deposits to its improvement trust fund that were between 17 and 170 days late.

According to the state, the cemetery obtained a new cemetery registration in April 2022.

A Department of Commerce and Insurance inspector conducted a physical inspection of the cemetery in November and “observed numerous issues,” including dead grass on monuments, sunken graves that needed to be filled, broken vases, several potholes on the driveways and a gravel driveway in “extremely poor condition,” a broken window in the mausoleum, and broken and loose stones on the steps leading to one of the cemetery’s statues.

The inspector observed that though the grass had been recently mowed, dead grass remained on many of the monuments; a few graves were sunken and required filling; there were several broken vases and some markers had vases that appeared to be missing; the shrubs in the center portion of the cemetery were extremely tall and even covered benches positioned beneath the shrubs; the driveways had multiple potholes that needed to be filled; the gravel drive in the back portion of the cemetery was in extremely poor condition and almost impossible to traverse; the mausoleum was dirt and there was one (1) broken window in the back of the mausoleum; the walkway and steps leading to one of the statues in the center portion of the cemetery was in extremely poor condition and there were numerous broken and loose stones.

Tennessee Dept. of Commerce and Insurance consent order

The $750 civil penalty was contingent on the cemetery depositing $780 into its improvement care trust fund. It would have been $1,500 otherwise, according to the consent order.