Pastor Zachery Tims, the founder of Florida megachurch the New Destiny Christian Center, passed away unexpectedly in August of this year. Paula White has been appointed the church's new pastor by the board, but Tims' ex-wife, Riva, is suing the New Destiny Christian Center's board claiming she wants an election to determine who should lead the congregation.
It has been clear that Riva Tims had hoped to succeed her ex-husband as pastor.
She has put a lot of time and energy in, church member Marie Roberson told WDBO. Riva Tims was co-founder of the church with her husband and believes she should take over his role in the megachurch.
Riva Tims has indicated that she was not happy with how the church board has handled the new appointment. Tims made reference to how White is $26 million in debt. The battle over who will take over the megachurch as pastor follows uncertainty over pastor Zachery Tims' death earlier this year. Although the cause of Tims' death remains undetermined, the New York Police Department found white powder in his pocket.
I've been hearing the cries. I've been hearing the concerns. I've been hearing so much that I want to, have to, literally, publicly take a stand against and challenge what is happening, Riva Tims exclaimed in a protest reported CFNews 13.
Madeline Tims, the pastor's mother, filed a lawsuit in October against the City requesting that the cause of death not be released. It was argued that the findings are not public record and may embarrass Tims' family and congregation.
New York City Attorney Maria Brennan argued that while the autopsy report and toxicology reports may not be public record, the pastor's cause of death is.
Nowhere is it written that the medical examiner is permitted or not permitted from disclosing cause of death upon public inquiry, Brennan said in court, according to the Christian Post.
The former preacher was found dead in a hotel room at the W Hotel in Times Square on Aug. 12, 2011.
While the New York City police department does not believe Tims' death involved foul play, reports claim that police found a packet of powder in this pocket. The powder has led to speculation that Tims' cause of death was a drug overdose.
Brennan explained that the longstanding tradition is to release the cause of death publicly, while the autopsy reports can be kept private.
The Medical Examiner has historically released the cause and manner of death upon public inquiry, and we are gratified that the Court agreed that this important practice complies with the law, said Brennan following the announcement that the information could be released, reported the Orlando Sentinel.
We don't decide who's important, who's not important; what's newsworthy, what's not newsworthy, she said.
Tims grew up in Baltimore and had a history of drug and violent activity.
He tried hard to heal himself, to fix himself, T.D. Jakes, chief pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, said at Tims' eulogy.