FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – The Texas Funeral Home Commission is investigating the Johnson Family Mortuary in Fort Worth. Currently the east side business, where eight unaccompanied dead bodies were found, has three pending complaints against it. CBS 11 I-Team Investigative Reporter Mireya Villarreal has also uncovered this isn’t the first funeral home the family has opened and had to shut down.
Dondre and Derrick Johnson look a lot alike. In fact, it’s how the twin brothers sell their funeral services online and in person. But the Texas Funeral Home Commission is not amused with their act.
The Johnson Family Mortuary opened in 2011 and by 2012 the state had placed the business on probation for not submitting a death certificate on time. Since then, there have been several complaints filed against the mortuary and it is currently being investigated for illegally operating a funeral home without a licensed director.
“The state says also you don’t have a funeral home director and you’re illegally operating,” investigative reporter Mireya Villarreal noted during an interview with co-owner Dondre Johnson.
“That was then,” Johnson answered. “If he’s gone, he’s gone. We move on. There are plenty of licensing directors out there.”
Johnson claimed they had a funeral home director, but couldn’t tell us who he or she was.
The I-Team also found the Johnson family business has been around a lot longer than 2011. Legal documents and information from the Texas Funeral Home Commission show Dondre and Derrick Johnson operated another funeral home in south Fort Worth, just off off Risinger and Interstate-35.
Back in 2007, they were called D & D Johnson Funeral Home. Dondre Johnson told Investigative Reporter Mireya Villarreal he left their south side location because it was located near a strip club.
But according to a lawsuit filed in Tarrant County, the Johnson Family was asked to leave the location and was sued for not paying thousands of dollars in rent.
The I-Team also uncovered a complaint and inspection filed in 2009 with the Texas Funeral Home Commission that kept them from renewing their license as D&D Johnson Funeral Home.
“The state says they actually shut you down at that location,” Villarreal stated to the business owner.
“No, the state didn’t shut me down at that location. If they shut me down, I’m still open,” Johnson stated. “All this shutting down and shutting down. But guess what, we open.”
Customer Patricia Fillmore said she gave the Johnson Family Mortuary $400 in December of last year to bury her grandmother, but the burial never happened. She had to go somewhere else and never got a refund.
Her fear is that another family could be going through something worse.
“It makes me real sad,” Fillmore told us. “They need to be shut down right now. Right now. And they need to give them bodies to other funeral homes and go on about their business.”
The I-Team also checked the Johnson Family Mortuary’s status with the Texas Secretary of State — the agency that regulates businesses in Texas. According to their records, the Johnson County Mortuary LLC was not supposed to be in business, because they had failed to pay state licensing fees. They were notified of the issue July 2013.
The Texas Funeral Home Commission will hear all of the Johnson cases in September.
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