Charismatic televangelist Benny Hinn, who denied romantic involvement with Paula White after a tabloid article last year, is being sued for $250,000 by his book publisher for violating a morality clause in their contract.
Hinn broke the terms of the agreement with Strang Communications Co. when he engaged in an "inappropriate relationship" with White, the Lake Mary-based publisher alleges in a suit filed Tuesday.
Strang paid Hinn a $300,000 advance for his first book, Blood in the Sand, three years ago. Hinn was supposed to write three books for the publisher, according to the suit.
Filed under "Contract/Indebtedness," the complaint claims that Hinn admitted "his inappropriate relationship" with White in August and that he failed to pay Strang despite agreeing to do so.
A Strang attorney also alleges in a letter attached to the suit that Hinn also didn't keep 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."
The case number for Strang Communications Co. v. Benny Hinn is 2011CA000575.
Last summer, The National Enquirer published photos showing the television preachers going in and out of a hotel in Rome, holding hands.
Following the article's publication, both Christian preachers issued statements denying any wrongdoing.
Hinn strongly rejected the article's claim that he had an affair with White, saying in a statement on his website that there was only a "friendship" and "no immorality" that existed between the two. He also derided claims that he and White secretly stayed together at a hotel as "absolutely false."
The televangelist said the twice-divorced White had been an “encouragement” to him and “shared helpful advice” after his wife, Suzanne, filed for divorce last January.
"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," he stated.
“I forcefully, categorically, and absolutely renounce the lies that have been spread about me and want to set the record straight with you. There is nothing inappropriate or morally improper about my friendship with Paula White. There has been no immorality whatsoever!"
In her own statement, White, who has known Hinn for over 20 years, called the assertions by the tabloid "categorically false."
"We were never alone and were in the constant company of staff and other associates," she asserted. "My relationship with Pastor Benny is genuine and pure and should not be taken out of context."
White, pastor of Without Walls International Church in Florida, also emphasized that she would hold accountable those who "thwart" her calling to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
Both had agreed to "have no further social relationship" until his divorce is finalized.
Hinn is legally divorced from Suzanne, according to the marital status listed on their divorce case in the Orange County Superior Court of California.
Hinn and White were among six televangelists whose spending and nonprofit status were investigated by Sen. Charles Grassley beginning in 2007.
Last month, Grassley concluded his three-year probe and reported that Joyce Meyer Ministries and Benny Hinn's World Healing Center Church were the only two ministries that fully cooperated with the investigation and even implemented financial reforms.