Wife of Late Bishop G.E. Patterson Sues her Nephew who Replaced Husband as Pastor of Church
The widow of COGIC Bishop G.E. Patterson is suing the pastor who replaced her husband at Temple of Deliverance, the Cathedral of the Bountiful Blessings.
Louise Patterson is suing Pastor Milton R. Hawkins, who is also her nephew, for access to the financial records of Bountiful Blessings Inc. and Temple of Deliverance Inc.
The church has no legal control over the ministry of Bountiful Blessings, the suit says, and the two are separate entities.
According to Allan Wade, Patterson’s attorney, the records will allow them to see if the church has been lumping finances of the two together.
As chairwoman of the ministry, Patterson typically draws a salary from Bountiful Blessings’ earnings, Wade said.
Additionally, she is receiving a retirement benefit from the church. Wade couldn’t recall the amount.
Because the IRS does not require the church or the ministry to file annual returns, there was no financial information available.
Bountiful Blessings, a nonprofit Church of God in Christ ministry started by the late Patterson three decades ago, has operated for most of that time under the roof of Temple of Deliverance, also founded by Patterson.
The ministry’s cassettes and videos that are for sale by the church are under Bountiful Blessings, which also owns Podium Records and WBBP radio station.
Appraised at nearly $500,000, both the building at 369 G.E. Patterson Ave. and the land the church sits on are listed as being owned by Bountiful Blessings, according to records at the Shelby County Assessor’s office.
Hawkins, a Detroit native who took over after Patterson’s death in March 2007, is the son of the late bishop’s sister.
Also named in the lawsuit is Temple of Deliverance Inc. and church secretary Betty Spight.
Tensions began to flare between Patterson and her nephew several months after the bishop’s death.
After being denied access to financial records from the past five years, Louise Patterson made requests through her lawyer and filed the lawsuit in June.
“A member (of the church), by law, is entitled to see those records,” Wade said.
But a letter from Hawkins’ attorney, Jef Feibelman, states those financial records show that both the church and the ministry were operated as a single entity under the former pastor.
“They simply reflect that Bishop Patterson operated Bountiful Blessings Inc. and Temple of Deliverance as one,” says the letter, which was included in the lawsuit.
Feibelman released a statement to a reporter Wednesday saying it would be inappropriate at this time to discuss the allegations.
He added, “I have had several discussions with Mrs. Patterson’s lawyer and I intend to continue the dialogue.”
Source: Commercial Appeal