Historic Brownwood cemetery uses loan to pay years of back taxes
BROWNWOOD, Texas - A historic cemetery where many of Brownwood's luminaries are buried in, including Brownwood founder Greenleaf Fisk, took out a loan recently to pay taxes it owes.
Greenleaf Cemetery paid nearly $20,000 to the Internal Revenue Service last week in back taxes it owed since 2014, according to financial records.
Steve Harris joined the Greenleaf Cemetery Association Board in February. He decided to become a member after hearing about its financial issues.
"When you can't afford to make payroll in one of the largest historical cemeteries in the state of Texas, you got issues," Harris said.
He buried his mother at Greenleaf in 2013.
"And you better start talking openly and honestly. I'm doing this for her," Harris said pointing to his late mother's grave site. "And for a lot of other people."
Greenleaf's former office manager, Tisha Pruett, is scheduled to go to trial on October 2 for allegedly embezzling more than $23,000 from the cemetery, according to court records.
The loan the cemetery took out was for $25,000.
"Whoever was on the board during that period of time simply had no idea that those taxes were not being paid," Acting Board President Connie Wyatt said.
Wyatt said the IRS hasn't assessed any financial penalties to the cemetery yet for paying its taxes late.
But Harris said the financial issues go beyond Pruett's alleged theft.
"Lack of actions by board members and previous office managers have helped get us here," Harris said.
One issue Harris brought up is that two people are currently buried in the same plot of land.
Wyatt said the mistake is due to the previous way the cemetery kept records on burials, which dated to the late 1800s. She said the cemetery is working with both families to resolve the issue.