Audit after alleged grave marker overcharging

A mug shot of Michael Wawee Jr. (Feb. 3, 2014)
A mug shot of Michael Wawee Jr. (Feb. 3, 2014)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Diocese of Grand Rapids says it will reimburse families who were overcharged for engravings on cemetery markers.

Grand Rapids detectives Kent County Commissioner Mike Wawee, Jr. was overcharging families and then getting cash kickbacks from the engraver.

“We apologize to all families and their loved ones who may now have questions and concerns about whether, when making funeral arrangements, they were treated fairly by one of our employees,” the Diocese said in a Tuesday release.

The Diocese said it is conducting an internal review of Holy Cross, Mt. Calvary and Sts. Peter & Paul cemeteries. It is going through all transactions done by Wawee to find any families that were affected.

The diocese will not be waiting for affected families to contact it — rather, it will be seeking out those who were taken advantage of.

The Diocese has hired two accounting firms to help with the review and processing complaints.

Those who think they may have been overcharged are asked to submit a written complaint and photocopies of relevant documents to one of those firms:

Beene Garter LLP, Certified Public Accountants
Attn: Mr. Thomas Rosenbach, Managing Partner
56 Grandville Avenue SW, Suite 100
Grand Rapids, MI. 49503

The Diocese says families with a “credible claim” will be reimbursed in a “timely way.”

Anyone with questions about the process can call Diocesan Director of Communications Carl Apple at 616.475.1240.