The owner of the Pearl City cemetery that has drawn complaints for years is finally speaking out.
For years, we’ve done stories on problems at Sunset Memorial Park that include mishandled burials, stolen urns and, just last week, collapsed grave sites.
Families have been frustrated because the legal owner was never around to address the problems. We reached out to him multiple times and he never responded.
Rev. Lago Dozinn is the cemetery’s legal owner. It took a few attempts to persuade him to meet with us for an interview, but when we reported that families were fed up and ready to take matters in their own hands, he agreed.
He was apologetic and admits he was in over his head when he took over as owner.
For starters, he tells us that his friend and business partner left abruptly nine years ago, so he had no choice but to take over.
“I decided that eh, I’ll take over… and hoping that I have enough money,” he said.
But with the cemetery full, he can’t sell any more plots, so there’s no money coming in.
He tells us he can make things better now, because he recently found out that there’s $197,000 in the cemetery’s account that can help make improvements.
“I talked to the trustee and he wants me to get all the paperwork from the state so he can release the money so we’re on that right track,” Dozinn said.
According to the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, there’s money there, but it’s in a what’s called a Perpetual Care Trust and the money has to stay in the account. Dozinn can only spend the interest on the account after he gets his paperwork done, which includes getting his license back.
Dozinn says he’s confident he can get the cemetery back in shape, but he admits he can’t do it by himself.
He says he’ll need some help from the community and wants to meet with the families and put together a board that will help him run the cemetery.
“Give me the chance. I will do the best and you will be proud of where your loved ones are,” he said.
We wanted to know why it had taken him so long to respond to the families who have been so unhappy.
“I’m very sorry for that,” he said. “I cannot say, but I tried, tried my best.”