Bank sues funeral home over loans

WARREN – Within two weeks of the state suspending the licenses of McClurkin Funeral Home in Girard, a bank has filed suit for non-payment over two 2007 loans totaling $425,000.

The suit was filed Thursday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court by Farmers National Bank of Canfield and assigned to Judge W. Wyatt McKay. No hearing date has been set.

The suit states that two loans were extended to Robert J., Karen M., Patrick J. and Tamara T. McClurkin on May 21, 2007. One loan was for $265,000 and another for $160,000.

A total of $198,980 is still owed on the first loan and more than $75,000 on the second loan.

The bank seeks repayment of the amount still owed, costs of the suit and $52 per day in interest.

Last week, Ohio’s Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors suspended the operating license of the funeral home and the licenses of its directors.

Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins said he has asked Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Office for a forensic review of McClurkin’s books. A statement from the board accuses McClurkin’s directors, Patrick J. McClurkin and Robert J. McClurkin, of stealing more than $400,000 from ”numerous consumers,” placing the funeral services for these people in ”clear jeopardy.”

McClurkin’s actions are a ”clear violation” of Ohio laws overseeing the placement of money received for pre-need funeral contracts, according to the board’s statement.

In an unrelated case, Watkins’ office also is investigating the financial accounts of the Robert P. McDermott Memorial Home in Niles, whose owner has been accused of mishandling $150,000 of pre-paid funeral service contracts.

Assisting the probes are police in Girard and Niles, the embalmers and funeral directors board and the Ohio Department of Insurance.