Burr Oak Workers Laid Off

By Andrew Greiner
|  Thursday, Aug 20, 2009  |  Updated 12:09 PM CDT
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Burr Oak Workers Laid Off

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This will not be a common site at the cemetery in the future.

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After all the hub bub at the Burr Oak cemetary in Alsip, the historic institution isn't even working with a skeleton crew.

All the remaining workers have been laid off after four people are accused of digging up graves to resell plots.

Roman Szabelski, the cemetery's receiver, says he hasn't gotten any of the money he's asked for to operate the cemetery.

Burr Oak's assets were frozen after four employees were charged in the alleged grave-reselling scheme. The cemetery's remaining employees — six grounds workers and two office workers — have been laid off since Friday.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart closed the cemetery in July after declaring it a crime scene. Szabelski has pushed back the reopening until all graves are properly marked and cleaned up.

Burr Oak is where civil rights-era lynching victim Emmett Till, jazz singer Dinah Washington and other prominent African-Americans are buried. The cemetery has a brand new searchable database at BurrOak.net where people can search the headstones.

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