SOUTH SALT LAKE — An embattled South Salt Lake mortuary accused of improper cremations and incomplete record keeping will retain its license on a probationary basis.
The deal between Carver Mortuary Service and the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing was announced Tuesday. Under the agreement, the mortuary neither admitted nor denied the allegations against it, but acknowledged the division had evidence to support its findings, according to an order filed in the division's review.
Carver Mortuary's license was placed on probation for five years under the deal, and the business agreed to pay $10,000 of a $50,000 fine, according to the order.
The mortuary came under scrutiny Nov. 2 when the division handed down an emergency order suspending the service's license, as well as the individual licenses of funeral directors Tanner Carver and Shane Westmoreland. According to the emergency order, two former employees hired earlier this year by the mortuary had laid out the claims in testimony before state regulators.
Carver told reporters when the emergency order came down that the allegations were fabricated by "disgruntled" former employees. His comments Tuesday echoed the order, saying the business doesn't admit or deny the allegations, and saying he is focused on getting back to work while complying with regular inspections.
"They'll check on us to make sure we're in compliance," Carver said. "We're happy to be open and running again. We've served in our capacity for 10 years and our mortuaries and the people who have dealt with us have great things to say about us. We're happy to be back."
The mortuary worked to resolve the issue quickly and comply with the state's licensing standards so that it could resume business, Carver noted. The business reopened Monday.
In the order released Tuesday, Carver Mortuary did not dispute allegations that, between February and November of this year, it had permitted unlicensed employees to embalm and cremate remains; placed infant remains in cremation receptacles meant for adults; failed to clean out cremation receptacles, allowing cremains to be commingled or discarded; and overfilled a refrigerator at the mortuary, allowing unembalmed bodies to remain outside a refrigerator for more than a day.
The mortuary also didn't dispute claims it cremated individuals without proper documentation, didn't maintain proper cremation logs and didn't cooperate with division investigators' requests for records.
The order did not address allegations employees had pocketed jewelry and sold gold and precious metals for profits.
"Those allegations are not there because that did not happen," Carver said Tuesday. "We're very careful about those things and we make sure that that stays that way."
Carver noted that throughout 10 years of business, had personal possessions not been restored to family members, someone would have come forward to complain. He maintained that Carver Mortuary is a reputable business that is intent on getting back to work caring for the families who come in.
"There are only a few times in your life when you might have to meet with a funeral director and go through this," Carver said. "We've done everything we need to do and we're going to continue to do that."