Late bishop's widow files lawsuit in attempt examine church finances - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Late bishop's widow files lawsuit in attempt examine church finances

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Tensions are brewing between the Temple of Deliverance and G.E. Patterson's widow, Louise. 

Mrs. Patterson is concerned about the finances at her husband's independent ministry, Bountiful Blessings, and she's filed a lawsuit to find out how the money is being spent.

The late Bishop G.E. Patterson was the head of two churches - his independent ministry, Bountiful Blessings, and his C.O.G.I.C. Temple of Deliverance.  Thursday, attorney Allan Wade said the two churches operated as separate business entities.

"He always wanted to have his ministry separate from C.O.G.I.C, so that if anything ever happened to him, his ministry could be perpetuated without being under the auspices of C.O.G.I.C.," Wade said.

According to Wade, the late Bishop's wife wants to continue her husband's legacy at Bountiful Blessings, where she's the ministry's chairperson, but her repeated requests to review the church's financial records have been denied. 

"We just don't know that the monies that belong to Bountiful Blessings are being used for that purpose," Wade said.

Wade said any member of the church has a right to look at those financial records, and he's been asking for them since November of 2007, but Louise Patterson has not been able to view them.

Wade has filed a lawsuit asking for full disclosure from both ministries, saying one church should not flourish at the expense of the other.   

"That's why we want the records, because there were number of accounts segregated between Bountiful Blessings and Temple of Deliverance, and now some of those accounts have been switched around," he said.

Patterson's successor, Pastor Milton Hawkins, is the nephew of the late pastor and his widow.  Hawkins is named in the lawsuit.  Jeff Feibleman, the attorney representing the Temple of Deliverance, said Thursday he preferred not to comment on the case.

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