Spitzer And State Cemetery Board Announce Court Authorization Of First Cypress Hills Cemetery Lot Owners Meeting Since 1993

dd>Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Richard D. Huttner has signed a court order requiring a meeting of the lot owners of Cypress Hills Cemetery on April 5, 2001 to elect a new board of directors. Attorney General Spitzer and the State Cemetery Board hailed the Judge's action as an important step toward returning the Cemetery to the control of its lot owners.

Since 1994, lot owners at Cypress Hills have not had the opportunity to elect a board of directors. Instead, the Cemetery has been managed by a court-appointed temporary receiver. The temporary receiver was appointed based on claims of misconduct against the former board of directors of Cypress Hills Cemetery made by the Attorney General's Office in a 1993 lawsuit.

The temporary receiver has been dealing with problems resulting from the Cemetery's decision in the mid-1980's to use construction and demolition debris to create new space for burials in the Cemetery, including a fifty-foot mound known as Terrace Meadow.

By early 2000, the Attorney General and the New York State Cemetery Board concluded that the Cemetery's operations and finances had stabilized to the point where the receivership could end and control be restored to a new board elected by the Cemetery's lot owners. Justice Huttner issued an order in February 2000 that the temporary receivership would end with the election of a board of directors, but no date for the election of a board was set at that time.

Last November, the Attorney General and the State Cemetery Board applied to Justice Huttner for an order requiring the temporary receiver to send out notice of the meeting and establishing the procedures for holding the meeting. As a result, the temporary receiver agreed to send out the meeting notice, which by court order, is publicly published and mailed to (a) all counsel of record who have appeared in the Cypress Hill court proceedings on behalf of lot owners or family members of lot owners, (b) all persons who have communicated with the Cemetery over the past three years concerning their voting rights, and (c) the guardian ad litem appointed by the Court in connection with the ongoing grave exchange program.

The April 5th meeting is scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m. in the Central Jury Room located in the Supreme Court Building, 360 Adams Street, in Brooklyn. Each owner over 18 years old of a lot in the Cemetery as shown in the Cemetery's records may participate and vote at the April 5th meeting. Lot owners who believe they have a right to vote are encouraged to provide appropriate documentation prior to the April 5th meeting date to Douglas Rosenberg, the Cemetery's temporary receiver, c/o BPC Management Co., 80 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201.

Attorney General Spitzer, who is also a member of the State Cemetery Board, said "This is an important step forward for both the Cemetery, as well as those who have loved ones buried there. We look forward to the time in the not too distant future when Cypress Hills will be returned to local control."

New York Secretary of State Alexander Treadwell, who serves as the Chair of the State Cemetery Board, said "The New York State Cemetery Board and the State Division of Cemeteries will work with and closely monitor the practices of the new board at Cypress Hills to assure that the cemetery is properly managed."

Cemetery lot owners with questions about the April 5th lot owners' meeting may call Douglas Rosenberg, the Cemetery's temporary receiver, at (718) 852-1616, the New York State Division of Cemeteries at (212) 417-5708 or the Attorney General's Charities Bureau at (212) 416-8397.