Man wants headstone for mother delivered or his money back - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Man wants headstone for mother delivered or his money back


One man is accusing a headstone business in Bristol of not giving his mother a proper burial after employees took his money and never delivered on their agreement.

"It kills me to see that this hasn't been completed," said Gary Durgan. "A year is coming up and we still have no resolution."

According to Durgan, his mother has been dead and buried for more than a year. The plot where her body lies is covered with leaves and is all he has to remember her by.

"My mom was a great lady," Durgan said. "She did a lot of things, a lot of volunteering."

When she died last April, Durgan said he wanted to find a reputable memorial company. After a search on the Better Business Bureau website, he settled on Bristol Memorial Works and talked with Barry Slade, who is listed as the company's vice president.

"He was very sincere," Durgan said. "And we had contact over the phone and emailed to make sure the stone looked the way we wanted it."

The plan was to have the stone set in June. When it didn't happen, Durgan got worried and started calling.

"Making phone calls every day and then realized something was very, very wrong," Durgan said.

Durgan told Eyewitness News that he tried to track Slade or someone with the company so he could get the headstone or at least for the $1,000 he paid up front.

Eyewitness News visited the business in Bristol, which appeared to look like a company. However, neighbors said appearances are deceiving.

"A lot of his clients have been coming in here asking where he is and if you've seen him," said Bruce Calvo, who owns a neighboring business.

Eyewitness News visited Slade's home in Southington; however, it was sold months ago.

Kendall Munson said she bought the home from Slade and had "no idea" where he was living.

Eyewitness News talked with James Bartelmo, who is listed as the company's president, and discovered he was running a similar memorial operation out of this office in New Britain with Slade's sister, Lori.

Bartelmo said he challenges the state records and claims he's not associated with Bristol Memorial Works anymore.

"Somebody is using my name then, if that's the case," Bartelmo said.

Bartelmo is married to Lori Slade and said they've communicated with Barry Slade recently.

"We need to get in touch with him because he's leaving a lot of people high and dry in Bristol," Bartelmo said. "Some of this is coming back to me and it's unfortunate, I've heard of some of these circumstances and I don't know what's going on over there."

Eyewitness News gave Bartelmo more than a week to clear this up, and despite several calls, this was our last exchange.

"He doesn't call anyone back," he said. "I'm sorry. I can't help you."

Bartelmo said he would try to contact his former business partner and brother-in-law.

Eyewitness News hasn't heard back from Barry Slade and neither has Durgan, who has taken this fight to the attorney general.

"It would be great to get the stone placed and put it all to rest," Durgan said.

Several have complained about Bristol Memorial Works not delivering on orders.

If you're in a similar situation, you can contact the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection by clicking the following link.

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