Televangelist Benny Hinn has responded to a lawsuit from book publisher Strang Communications, which alleges he violated a morality clause in their contract due to his "romantic" and "inappropriate" relationship with another minister.
According to an email response Wednesday from Hinn's lawyer, Miles Archer Woodlief of Mill Valley, Calif., to The Christian Post, the crusade evangelist has tried, but to no avail, to resolve the matter with Strang founder Stephen Strang outside of court.
"After extensive attempts to settle a contract dispute between Pastor Benny Hinn and Strang Communications failed, Mr. Strang filed a civil suit against Pastor Benny Hinn without notice," Woodlief told CP in an email response.
"Pastor Hinn regrets that Mr. Strang rejected settlement attempts and chose instead to resolve his grievance through the judicial system."
Hinn was shown in National Enquirer photos holding hands with Without Walls pastor Paula White going in and out of a hotel in Rome.
Both have denied romantic involvement with the other. Hinn has insisted the two only shared a "friendship" and that "no immorality" has taken place in their relationship.
But in the suit, filed Feb. 15, Strang Communications alleges, "Mr. Hinn was engaged in a public, romantic and otherwise inappropriate relationship with another high-profile minister, who was divorced."
The Christian publisher, based in Lake Mary, Fla., claims that Hinn broke the morality clause in a book deal and should pay back $250,000.
Under the contract, Hinn was supposed to write three books for the publisher, according to the suit. Strang said it gave Hinn an advance of $300,000 to write his first book with the publisher, Blood in the Sand.
A Strang attorney also alleges in a letter attached to the suit that Hinn also violated a contract term requiring him to help market the book. The letter said he was a no-show at media appearances, including on Christian Broadcasting Network's "The 700 Club."
Hinn, through his lawyer, told CP that he "hopes that revealing the true facts of the actions of Mr. Strang and Strang Communications will not become necessary as a result of the regrettable course of action he has undertaken."
In the acknowledgement page of Blood in the Sand, Hinn thanked his "good friend Stephen Strang" and "the staff of Strang Communications" for making his publishing endeavor possible.
"Pastor Hinn remains optimistic that a resolution can be reached without causing unwanted harm to his publisher and long-time acquaintance," Woodlief relayed to CP.
Hinn’s wife, Suzanne, filed for divorce early last year. The couple is now legally divorced, according to the marital status listed on their divorce case in the Orange County Superior Court of California.
The case number for Strang Communications Co. v. Benny Hinn is 2011CA000575. The suit was filed in a Seminole County, Fla., circuit court.