The possibility that the Attorney General’s office will ask the New York State Legislature to pass a law authorizing State supervision of the conduct of cemeteries, Jewish and non-Jewish, was indicated Friday by Robert S. Conklin, Attorney General for the City of New York. The occasion was the hearing called to probe the charges of malfeasance pressed against the Baron Hirsh Cemetery of State Island by the Hebrew Religious Protective Assn.
The Hebrew Religious Protective Association charged that the Baron Hirsh Cemetery, contrary to law, is conducted as a business corporation for private gain instead of on a membership basis with plot owners as shareholders entitled to a voice in the conduct of the cemetery.
No decision was reached at the hearing on Monday. The hearing will be resumed at the call of Mr. Conklin after he has had time to study the evidence. The investigation into the affairs of the Baron Hirsh Cemetery is only one of the series of investigation in which virtually all the Jewish cemeteries in this city will face scrutiny.
The investigation of the Attorney General’s office was brought about at the instance of the Hebrew Religious Protective Association, which charges that the cemeteries are conducted for private gain, that exorbitant assessments are asked, and unreasonable advance notices of burial demanded.
The Attorney General’s office has pledged itself to clear the field of all illegitimate cemetery corporations. While its course of action has not yet been clearly mapped out and will be formulated only after the evidence in all the cases has been heard, Mr. Conklin stated on Friday, that State supervision will in all probability be one of the means employed to prevent a continuance of the present situation.