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Bodies Are Just Assets to Greedy Funeral Giant – Dump NYSE: SCI

April 5, 2009

Service Corporation International aka Pierce Brothers Service Corporation International aka McMillan-McCormick Pierce Brothers Service Corporation International, aka McMillan-McCormick, Pierce Brothers, Halverson, Stone & Myer Assembly-line embalming, deceased prepared at central facilities Shades of soylent green Houston Texas, may have been caught in its last scam.  Hopefully they have bought their LAST politician.  Its NOT about SERVICE, its about profiteering. Wiki reminds us of the inevitable BUSH connection to SCI:

george-bush-middle-fingerIn the late 1990s, SCI was involved in a controversy involving alleged violations of Texas State embalming laws. The proceedings took a political slant due to Robert Waltrip’s friendship with the family of then-governor George W. Bush and Waltrip’s campaign contributions to various members of the Bush family..[11]

Referred to as “Funeralgate” or “Formaldegate” in the media, the controversy was widely publicized when Eliza May—a director with the Texas Funeral Service Commission (TFSC)—was fired while investigating SCI. May alleged in a civil suit that she was fired because she refused to halt her investigation, despite pressure to do so from Governor Bush. Other TFSC employees indicated she was fired because her colleagues had lost confidence in her ability and because she was using her authority inappropriately.

May’s lawyers subpoenaed President Bush to testify at the trial,[12] but Texas Judge John K. Dietz threw out the subpoena on the grounds that the then-governor was not in a position to have enough specialized information to require his involvement.[13]

The lawsuit was settled in 2001 for more than $200,000. SCI and the state of Texas were required to jointly pay the decision.[14] On January 23, 2004, the TFSC fined SCI an additional $21,000 for administrative penalties.[14]

SCI’s Grim Reapers
From 1996 through 1998, SCI PAC poured $113,061 into the campaigns of Texas candidates for statewide and legislative offices; the PAC spent 75 percent of this money  ($84,461) in the 1998 cycle. Top recipients are often the same politicians who intervened with TFSC on SCI’s behalf.

(Then) Gov. George Bush received 31 percent of this SCI PAC money, or $35,00 (he also received $1,100 from SCI Director Clifton H. Morris).johncornyn

  • Bush’s Office, Legislators Butt into Open Investigation of Funeral Giant SCI
  • Agency Head Axed After Trying To Research Intriguing Political Money Trail
  • Bush’s office intervened at least twice on SCI’s behalf. May said SCI CEO Robert Waltrip visited her agency in April 1998 and demanded that everyone involved in the SCI raid five days earlier be fired. Waltrip also said he was on his way to the Governor’s office.
  • Senator John Cornyn and Governor Rick Perry are also recipients of SCI generosity … bought and paid for!

The highly capitalized and corporate organized now pick New Orleans’ bones much as vultures picked the bones of those whose bodies lay in the bayous for an entire week while FEMA reportedly haggled with Kenyon International, a subsidiary of Houston-based Service Corporation International (SCI), over the price of recovering the dead.   George Bush, however, is such a close family friend of SCI CEO Robert Waltrip that he did his best to save SCI from paying $450,000 in fines for

rick-perry

using unlicensed embalmers, with grisly consequences, in Texas. And he has been so generous in the extension of reconstruction contracts to his corporate family friends that it’s quite difficult to believe that “haggling over the price” really postponed the recovery of New Orleans’ mostly poor, mostly Black dead.

Va funeral home accused of atrocious conditions

crazy_unrefrigerated_corpsesWASHINGTON — A funeral home that helps handle veterans awaiting burial at Arlington National Cemetery left corpses in an unrefrigerated garage, hallways and on makeshift gurneys, according to a former embalmer who has given his photographs and notes to authorities, The Washington Post reported Sunday.   “The stench was disgusting,” Federici of Clifton, Va., told The Associated Press Sunday. He described seeing about 1 to 2 inches of feces and urine on the floor.

Federici said he’d like to see the company be fined or shut down, “because obviously they didn’t learn from the $100 million settlement a few years ago.”  “They need to make a public statement and make public reparation for this kind of egregious and vile behavior,” he said.

Napper, who was one of two embalmers, said as many as 2,000 bodies from the five funeral homes affiliated with SCI move through the regional care facility, sometimes called “Central,” at National Funeral Home each year for embalming, cosmetics, dressing and storage, overwhelming its facilities.

Some bodies waiting months for burial at Arlington are stored in the garage and are subject to external temperature changes, Napper said.

When he was hired in May, Napper was not aware that National Funeral Home had just been placed on three years’ probation for unsanitary conditions.

‘I Never Could Have Imagined’

Dignity Was Denied the Dead as Bodies Were Stored and Handled Using ‘Disturbing’ Methods, Area Funeral Home Workers Say

What was supposed to be a dignified end to thousands of lives had instead deteriorated into a haphazard operation, Napper said, more about money than honoring the dead. Part of the largest funeral services conglomerate in the world — Houston-based Service Corporation International — the company did not want to spend money to address the issues, Napper said supervisors told him.

Even worse, (Napier) said, was what his supervisors instructed embalmers to do before the bodies were shipped to Arlington. Napper said he was told to put scoops of an industrial deodorant powder, Dodge Company’s D-12, all over the bodies to ensure that odors wouldn’t be detected by officials at the public cemetery.

Arlington’s protocol is not to accept coffins that have bad odors or leaks, said Kaitlin Horst, an Arlington spokeswoman.

Va. funeral home accused of ‘disrespectful’ conditions

National Funeral Home Lets Hundreds Of Corpses Rot In Hallways

The Funeral Home’s owner, Texas-based Service Corporation International, told Napper that they were unwilling to pay for refrigeration, which would prevent corpses from leaking and growing mold.   The Virginia Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers is investigating Napper’s accusations. Don’t worry though, Service Corporation International is already on the case. “I can assure you,” J. Scott Young, President of SCI Virginia Funeral Services said, “that our company takes these allegations very seriously.”

‘I Never Could Have Imagined’

Dignity Was Denied the Dead as Bodies Were Stored and Handled Using ‘Disturbing’ Methods, Area Funeral Home Workers Say

sci020707l1The only thing these corporate crooks understand is MONEY.  Check your portfolio, if you have one, dump these bastards. Drop their stock.  SCI has been caught scamming before:

SCI, which owns more than 1,700 funeral homes in the United States, has been accused of problems before, such as in the Menorah Gardens case in Florida. Customers filed a class-action lawsuit against SCI alleging that funeral homes in the chain desecrated vaults, oversold cemetery plots, and removed bodies from grave sites and dumped them in the woods in 2001. SCI settled the case out of court for $100 million in 2003.

The track record for SCI is wrought with intrigue, scandal, corruption, bribery and extortion.  The tragedies outweigh the benefits for this corporate poster child for all thats wrong with profit motive.  Consumer be damned, profit margin be worshiped, is the wrong motto.

Service Corporation International (SCI) is to death what H&R Block is to taxes. SCI, the largest funeral and cemetery services company in North America, operates some 1,300 funeral homes and about 370 cemeteries in 40-plus US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Germany. The company’s primary services include embalming, burial, and cremation. As part of its business, SCI also sells traditional funeral necessities, including prearranged funeral services, caskets, burial vaults, cremation receptacles, flowers, and burial garments. The company expanded significantly in late 2006 by acquiring its chief rival, Alderwoods Group.

From The Raw Story:  Waltrip, chairman of SCI, is a longtime friend of Bush’s father, former President George Herbert Walker Bush. The firm’s political action committee donated $45,000 to George W. Bush’s 1994 gubernatorial campaign.

The company also contributed more than $200,000 for construction of the George H.W. Bush presidential library.

“It is appalling that the Bush administration –- which has already badly bungled its response to hurricane Katrina –- would hire a company with a record of gross mismanagement of mortuary services,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a Washington D.C.-based watchdog group. “I can only imagine that this decision was made because of President Bush’s long-time friendship with the head of SCI, Robert Waltrip.”

SCI also owned fifteen funeral homes named as defendants in a lawsuit filed on behalf of family members alleging “macabre mishandling, abuse and desecration of bodies” by Tri-State Crematory in Georgia. The lawsuit accused SCI-owned funeral homes of sending bodies to the unlicensed, unregulated crematorium, where never-incinerated corpses were found piled outdoors and stuffed in sheds in 2000.

Some vaults designed to hold one body each had 67 sets of human remains stuffed inside, investigators discovered. SCI was among the companies ordered to pay settlement fees to family members, a legal source has confirmed to RAW STORY.

Kenyon bills itself as the world’s leading disaster management company. It provided morgue support services following the 9/11 plane crash in Pennsylvania and the Asian tsunami.

As North America’s largest funeral and cemetery company, SCI operates 1,500 mortuaries and cemeteries nationwide.

The company’s website claims the firm is dedicated to “compassionately supporting families at difficult times, celebrating the significance of lives that have been lived, and preserving memories that transcend generations, with dignity and honor.”

SCI was also involved in an earlier scandal in Texas. Eliza May, former Texas Funeral Service Commission Director, filed a lawsuit accusing George W. Bush, then Governor, of obstructing an investigation into SCI license violations. May was fired following a dispute with Waltrip.

Waltrip and an SCI lobbyist met with Governor Bush’s chief of staff, Joe Allbaugh (Allbaugh was later appointed head of FEMA after Bush became President, but left to become a lobbyist representing Halliburton, among other corporate clients).

According to Newsweek, Bush stopped by and said to Waltrip, “Hey, Bobby, are those people still messing with you?”

May, a Democrat, sought to force Bush to testify in the case, but in August 1999, a Texas judge tossed out a subpoena issued by May’s lawyers for Bush to give a deposition. Bush, who was not a defendant, called May’s claims “frivolous” and denied knowing the circumstances of her ouster.

In 1999, when Bush was gearing up to run for the presidency, Texas Governor Rick Perry approved a settlement for May. SCI paid $55,000; the state of Texas shelled out the balance without admitting wrongdoing in May’s termination.

Jennifer Crider, spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), expressed concern over FEMA’s choice of an SCI subsidiary and questioned whether the selection was made through a no-bid process.

“The tragedy in the Gulf States must not be compounded by disrespecting those who have died,” Crider told RAW STORY. “It’s critical that government contracts be subjected to scrutiny to ensure that there has been no fraud or abuse of taxpayer money or interest.”

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3 Comments
  1. April 7, 2009 4:56 pm

    Thank you Robert, I agree that corporate motivation has taken a nastier turn for the worse, than we’ve already grown accustomed to. SCI has arrogantly dismisses bodies as a bonus to their profit margin, as long as they can skimp on their regulated responsibilities. They miss the connection that ‘bodies’ are actually related to the same humanity that pays them. These ‘bodies’ are someone’s loved ones. Someone is paying them to treat those loved ones carefully for the last time.
    The other tragic issue is skimping on sanitary discipline regulations. Why waste time and effort on compliance, when you have powerful politicians forcing justice to ignore their violations? I don’t know who I want to spank first, corrupt corporations or the corrupt politicians accepting bribes for allowing them to cheat.

  2. April 7, 2009 3:41 pm

    By the way, when I get around to putting together a new blogroll, I’ll be sure to add Truth Hugger.

  3. April 7, 2009 3:40 pm

    Can I add an Amen to this post? To me it is just more proof that there are too many people who believe that the almighty dollar is more important than human beings – either alive or departed. I wonder how these CEOs and managers would feel if they were the only people left on Earth. Would they wish for more money or for someone to talk to?

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