The owner of a South Side funeral home cited for improper storage of the deceased maintains that all bodies were properly cared for, though he admits some building problems are plaguing his business.
Carter Funeral Chapel, at 2100 East 75th St., was shut down Monday after authorities found the building with no heat or electricity. Owner Harry Carter told reporters later that day he treats each body with "utmost respect."
"It's a serious issue," Carter said. "There was numerous city, state and county personnel going over every square inch of the funeral home, the roof, the basement. ... They inspected all the remains here with a microscope basically and didn't find one human remain to be out of compliance."
Carter said the funeral home, hosting about 350 funerals a year, has a "stellar record in the community" that's never been tarnished.
Investigators were called Monday on a complaint of a suspicious car outside the funeral home. Upon arrival they found the rear door ajar. Once inside, they found three employees and made the discovery that the building had no power.
Carter said the funeral home has a problem with "disgruntled employees." One former employee was there Sunday night, Carter said. "Another worker," he said, "was recently fired."
A city official who declined to give his name said Monday Carter Funeral Chapel had been without power since October. He said he personally saw nine bodies inside, two in the funeral home's garage.
When asked about the lack of power, Carter said, "All businesses have their challenges. Look at General Motors, Chrysler and other companies that have 1,000 or more [generators]. They still have challenges. I'm a small South Side Chicago businessman... and I have mine."
State records show Carter has faced numerous citations and was suspended and fined in April 1999 for practicing on a non-renewed license. Carter got his license back in October 2001, but state records indicate he lost it again in August 2006 for failure to pay state income taxes.
In October 2008 his license was indefinitely suspended again, and he was fined $6,000, due to "violations of regulations, untrustworthiness, embalming without consent, and unprofessional conduct."
Carter's attorney said Monday he will examine all the information regarding the citation. Carter said there is no wrongdoing.
"Every single allegation of improper care or improper paperwork has been found to be meritless," Carter told reporters Monday. "Otherwise I wouldn't be standing here."