Televangelist Benny Hinn is being sued by Strang Communications, a publishing company that alleges that Hinn violated a morality clause in their contract when he began an "inappropriate relationship" with Without Walls pastor Paula White.
In August, The National Enquirer published photos of Hinn and White holding hands in Rome. Hinn was married to Suzanne Hinn at the time. His wife had filed for divorce in February 2010.
"I will not deny that the friendship has strengthened, and, while it has remained morally pure at all times, I have enjoyed the company of someone who has also gone through the trauma of a painful and public divorce," Hinn said in a statement at the time.
Hinn acknowledged to his publisher "his inappropriate relationship" with White in August, the suit, obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, says. Strang Co. (now known as Charisma Media) says that it should receive $250,000 of unrecouped royalties but Hinn has refused to pay the amount.
Hinn had signed a three-book deal and was paid a $300,000 advance for Blood in the Sand (2009). The suit includes a letter where Strang said Hinn violated the contract by failing to work hard enough to market the book, according to the Sentinel.
He failed to make television appearances to promote it, including several on 700 Club, the television show that Pat Robertson founded.
Paula White and her husband divorced in 2007, and she left Without Walls, returning in 2009 after her husband announced his departure due to poor health. White also described the National Enquirer piece as false.
"We were never alone and were in the constant company of staff and other associates, " she said in a statement at the time. "I value my friendship with Pastor Benny and remain supportive with a deep respect of him, his family and his ministry. My relationship with Pastor Benny is genuine and pure and should not be taken out of context."
Hinn and White were cited in Sen. Chuck Grassley's investigation of televangelists, which recently concluded.
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