The family of Commerce One founder Thomas Gonzales II is demanding that Oakmont Memorial Park Cemetery buy back their son's $3.2 million mausoleum after the .
Family members said they put countless hours and millions of dollars into the design and construction of a white marble mausoleum they felt was a fitting memorial to their son's memory. The structure was desecrated and the urn taken in January of 2011.
"Now, the mausoleum has no value to my family," said Gonzales’ father, Tom Gonzales, Sr. "The sight of it causes my family so much pain and suffering we think it’s only right for Oakmont to be held accountable."
The family is suing StoneMor California, a division of StonMor Partners LP for a minimum of $3.2 million, accusing the national cemetery operator of negligently allowing thieves to walk off with their son’s remains and for failing to alert the family of a previous security breach.
The suit was filed Tuesday in Contra Costa County Superior Court. A woman answering the phones at Oakmont Wednesday morning said there was no one from the cemetery in a position to talk about the suit.
"Sorry," she said.
Gonzales co-founded Commerce One Inc., a pioneering Pleasanton Internet company that became one of the fastest-growing firms in Nasdaq history, with his father. He died on Dec. 5, 2001 at the age of 35, after an eight-month battle with gastric cancer.
Oakmont and other local cemeteries have been plagued by metal theft in recent years as thieves make off with markers and urns valued for their metal content.
According to Tuesday's suit, a groundskeeper at the Oakmont Cemetery noticed damage to the mausoleum’s steel frame doors prior to the January 16, 2011 theft.
Lawyers for the family claim no one from Oakmont notified them of the attempt.
Three days later, thieves successfully entered the property and stole the bronze urn containing Gonzales’ remains. Police never recovered the ashes, despite a full-scale investigation and a large reward, which the family still is offering today.