Bridgeport Probate Court should stand firm in the matter of the outlandish claim of a funeral home director who wants $34,000 from the estate of a man she decided to give an extravagant send-off.
There is a fixed fee of $1,800 the state pays to funeral directors for the cost of cremating an unclaimed body, and that’s what should be paid to Brenda Ortiz, director of the Community Funeral Chapels on Park Avenue in Bridgeport.
In October 2008, Ortiz claimed the body of Myron A. Johnson, a long-time Metro North worker who died alone at age 68 on Christmas Day 2007, in his small downtown Bridgeport apartment.
With no apparent friends or family to come forward, Johnson’s body stayed in the state medical examiner’s office until Ortiz, who’d never met Johnson, claimed the body.
It turned out Johnson had $137,000 in the bank. Ortiz ordered a stainless steel casket and put together a funeral, replete with flowers, pall bearers, granite gravestone and a guitar player, for all of which she originally submitted a bill of $64,000 to the Probate Court. To his credit, Probate Judge Paul Ganim tossed the request out.
Ortiz is back now, though, with a claim for $34,000 in reimbursement. While her new claim is $30,000 less than the original bill, it’s still outrageous.
Judge Ganim should give her the minimum and move on with the court’s business.
Reject claim on funeral
December 3, 2012