ORANGE COUNTY, Fla.,None - During a news conference on Thursday, the ex-wife of an Orange County pastor who died under questionable circumstances said she and her attorney have filed a lawsuit against the New Destiny Christian Center's board, saying she wants an election to determine who will lead the congregation.
Pastor Zachery Tims died in a New York City hotel room in August.
Paula White was appointed by the church's board as the new pastor, but Riva Tims said she wants to take over the late Zachary Tims' role as pastor.
Members of the church cheered when Riva Tims said she wanted to be her husband's successor as pastor.
"She has put a lot of time and energy in," said church member Marie Roberson.
Riva Tims said she is the co-founder and has the right to take over her late husband's duties.
"It seems a little deceptive, so we want to shed some light to see if there are any discrepancies," said Riva Tims.
Riva Tims did not go into detail, but said she was not happy with how the board handled the appointment of the new pastor.
She also said the board was negligent in hiring White because a 2006 audit revealed White is $26 million in debt.
The fight over the church's new pastor comes as a cloud of mystery remains over how Pastor Tims died. NYPD police said white power was found in his pocket.
WFTV asked why the family wanted to keep Zachary Tims' autopsy sealed, but Riva Tims said she did not want to answer the question.
Board members sent a release, and stated they had a lengthy search and believe White will continue Zachary Tims' legacy.