2005-03-29 / Front Page

Cemetery: Karcher accepted free offer


Staff Writer

MARLBORO — Directors of the Marlboro Memorial Cemetery said they had no political motive when they mailed state Sen. Ellen Karcher (D-Monmouth and Mercer) a free grave promotion more than two years ago.

Karcher, who was a member of the Township Council in 2002, expressed concern in October 2002 about a free grave promotion she received from the Marlboro Memorial Cemetery, Route 79. The cemetery is owned by Anthony Spalliero and operated by his son, Joseph.

As a member of the council, Karcher was involved in various discussions and potential decisions regarding Anthony Spalliero, a prominent developer in Marlboro.

Within the past two weeks, the cemetery sent the News Transcript a press release that states, “The claim that New Jersey state Sen. Ellen Karcher received such a packet of cemetery literature offering her a free grave promotion without her consent is totally false.”

Directors of the Marlboro Memorial Cemetery were unavailable for further comment regarding why the press release was sent out more than two years after Karcher expressed her concern about receiving the material.

The press release explained that many cemeteries, especially new ones, promote themselves in different ways, such as by telemarketing and special promotions.

“No member of the community would ever receive cemetery literature if not interested. ... It is impossible for anyone to receive cemetery literature or the free grave promotion letter randomly,” ac-cording to the press release.

Informed about the press release from the cemetery, Karcher said the letter she received in 2002 did not look like what a large company would send out as a marketing tool. She said there were other things about the letter that she was unable to talk about — due to an ongoing investigation — that indicated it was not a marketing tool.

According to the press release, a cemetery telemarketer, Miles Sidler, said he distinctly recalled the computer generating a call to the Karcher residence and that a woman who answered the call agreed to accept the literature.

“The implication that someone other than a telemarketer sent the packet to Karcher for the purpose of political intimidation is even more bizarre to imagine since I was told to send it by the Karcher residence,” Sidler was quoted as saying in the press release.

Karcher said she does not recall the phone call regarding her acceptance of the free grave promotion letter. She said she does not believe a telemarketer, who calls many people throughout the day, would remember everyone he called.

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