The more I study the Illinois Funeral Directors Association Funeral preneed ponzi scheme the more i come over to the side of those funeral directors who are have filed a lawsuit against the association. Some of those folks have ethical problems that are equal to those of the IFDA.
The opinions expressed below are those of MarsellusM710
With that said I am turning the blog over to the commentator today
Dear Funeral Guy and Funeral Service Colleagues,
Clap…..Clap…..Clap, an astounding round of applause for our Illinois Consumer, Mr. Dan Hynes for a 58 – 0 vote in the Illinois Senate, and not a one of them asked him where he was when his field auditors notified his Chicago Office that the IFDA Trust was in trouble in 2002 and why was it allowed to hemorrhage for soooo long. While the new legislation was not really necessary, it more or less clarifies what is already law. Mr. Hynes needs to focus on and just make sure that each and every Independent or third party Trustee is in fact, properly licensed. Something everyone of his predecessors failed to do as well , since the days of Roland Burris, our current junior Senator.
Like I said in an earlier tirade, This legislation, SB1682, is nothing short of knee-jerk reaction to a catastrophe of a problem. A simple effort taken and blessed by the Consumer Gods (AARP et. al) to let the “folks” know we’re lookin’ out for them. If anyone will read the Illinois Funeral and Burial Funds Act will see that most of the new stuff is already in there. (Repetition, yes I know)
I was at the Meeting last Thursday in Springfield with Mr. McRaith et.al. It was real hard to sit there and listen to the Attorney for the Dept. of Insurance tell us F.D.’s “This is all your fault”. Insinuating that we had the knowledge of the trust investments, and we were abreast of what our Board was doing. While there may be some truth in that statement, in effect we members of IFDA were extremely trustworthy of our Brethren on the Board. I resent the Attorneys comments after all the information he has surely been privy to see. What about the fault of the Board and It’s former Executive Directors, and lets not forget Mr. Schainker, for allowing cold hard earned cash to be converted into risque insurance products.
I’m surprised the DOI was not as forceful about us signing off on this settlement as he was when he and the Comptroller placed the proverbial gun to our heads last fall when we WERE forced to sign the agreement, or face loss of licensure of not only our Trustee license, but our insurance Producer License, and Funeral Director and Embalmer licenses as well, allowing Merrill-Lynch to be the new trustee in effect of money they already controlled, as we found out.
With arm twisting actions like that, what was a person to do?
Mr. McRaith also stated that for the first time in years we saw for our own eyes what the true value of our accounts were. While that may have been a shock (understatement!) as compared to the values we were told they were valued at by statements and reports received.
Karen Blankenship, Trust Administrator for the former IFDA Trust assumed by MLTC, was in attendance. I soo wanted to direct the question to her as to where in God’s name was she getting her info from when reporting earnings to us????
But being the gentleman that I am, I refrained from asking, and sat there like a good boy. (Save that question for the deposition) Alot of great questions were asked, but went unanswered, some with blank stares like a deer in oncoming headlights.
I have had several inquiries from client families asking me if I am signing off on the agreement.
Most of them received their notice(s) of account status recently. Recoupment of pennies on the dollar doesn’t excite them either. I’ve told them I’m choosing not to because it is not in either my or their best interest to do so. A question of IF there are tax implications by receiving the settlement monies needs to be addressed as well. Besides, by signing off ties my hands and disqualifies me from further action to be taken against M-L and their subsidiaries and employees should I choose to participate in that. I have told them that this rests on my shoulders, not theirs, and that I have to make good on all contracts or else. Either way the threat to my livelihood is realized through community reputation crucifixion or regulatory wise.
The one thing that I did come away with last Thursday was this. Mr. McRaith stated that there are further regulatory actions to be taken by the Illinois Secretary of State, Div of Securities, and the IDFPR Div of Banks and Trusts against M-L and Mr. Schainker. And that further settlements could POSSIBLY be realized.
While the Comptroller and the Dir. of Ins. may have won the battles at the Capitol Building in Springfield, the war is still on and will have to be decided in Court(s).
May the Derivative Lawsuit prove fruitful and victorious for the plaintiffs and those affiliated.
You are so right about being “marked” men by those whom regulate. Should the Lawsuit fail,(Heaven Forbid!) look for a purging and all out vetting of those who have dared to speak out against those in charge/involved. Imagine for a moment if you will, a small planted error in your trust report, that gets blow out of proportion, that finally leads to ones ruination even though they’ve done nothing wrong, or IDFPR get a “complaint” by a fictitious family about ethical misconduct, etc. and you or your atty., never have the opportunity to know or interview said person, you loose you licenses even though you’ve done nothing wrong. Sound far fetched?
Remember you are in Illinois, they’ve been know not to play nice here.
That’s all for now,
Funeral Industry|Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy
Burris Picture from Flickr under the Creative Commons licence from