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Rev. Henry Lyons sues National Baptist Convention over election loss

A month after losing his long-shot bid to return as president of the National Baptist Convention, the Rev. Henry Lyons is once again suing the organization he used to lead.

Lyons has filed a lawsuit in a Washington, D.C., court claiming election fraud and improper vote counting in the September contest, which he lost in a landslide.

Lyons is well known in the Tampa Bay area for rising to the top of an organization that represents millions of African-American church members, and then falling hard a decade ago as he was convicted of swindling more than $5 million from the organization's corporate partners. He spent nearly five years in prison.

During his candidacy last month, Lyons filed a lawsuit attempting to stop the election, claiming that new bylaws violated the organization's constitution. He lost. Now he has filed suit again, claiming irregularities in the election itself.

Lyons had aligned himself during the campaign with the well-regarded Rev. R.B. Holmes of Tallahassee. Asked about Lyons' lawsuit on Friday, Holmes said, "I'm not aware of it, I have no comment." Asked if he noticed irregularities in the election, he said, "I'm moving on."

Lyons lost last month's election to the Rev. Julius R. Scruggs of Huntsville, Ala., who could not be reached Friday. But Scruggs told the Nashville Tennessean newspaper that the "overwhelming" margin of victory in the election "sort of suggests that the opposition did not have as much influence as they thought they had."

Lyons, who formerly was pastor of a St. Petersburg church, is now pastor at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa. He and his attorney could not be reached Friday.

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.

Rev. Henry Lyons sues National Baptist Convention over election loss 10/16/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 4:47pm]
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