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Funeral Director Must Curtail Activity

July 24, 1994|ENRIQUE LAVIN

The state received a temporary restraining order against Willie Frank Houston, a South-Central funeral director who allegedly continued to operate his funeral homes despite losing his operating licenses last month.

The temporary restraining order granted July 14 to the State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers required Houston to curtail all funeral director activities at the Houston and Peoples Funeral Home, 4250 S. Central Ave., and at Houston's Mortuary, 9201-9203 S. Vermont Ave.

Houston said he hasn't offered any services since his licenses were revoked June 23. "I've had seven or eight accusations, but none of them have been proven in court," he said.

The funeral director said he sold the three-home company, which also included a home in Pomona, to a South Africa-based corporation on June 28. The Rhodesia Intercontinental Corp. has already filed for a license with the state board to operate, state officials said.

Richard Yanes, executive director of the board, said the state hasn't proven the recent charges against Houston. "But we do have declarations made under penalty of perjury by at least three families involved, which say (Houston) was agreeing to perform funeral services," he said.

Houston lost the licenses to run the funeral homes after a state investigation. Houston was found to have violated more than 50 state laws, including switching of bodies, burial of wrong bodies, unlicensed embalming and failure to release the body of a baby.

Yanes said the temporary restraining order was granted until a July 28 hearing for a permanent injunction in a Superior Court takes place.

The state is also seeking about $10,000 in damages and restitution for the families allegedly harmed by Houston, Yanes said. It will also demand reimbursement of investigative and legal costs associated with the case, more than $50,000.

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