James Huntsman Files Lawsuit Seeking Return Of Tithing; Church Calls Fraud Claims ‘Baseless’
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – James Huntsman, son of the late billionaire Jon Huntsman Sr. and brother of former Utah governor and U.S. presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr., filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday seeking to have The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints return more than $5 million in tithing he gave the church over a quarter of a century.
Huntsman, 50, who runs a California film distribution company, stopped paying tithing in 2017, according to the suit, and began to seek the return of previous donations after a 2019 report that a former employee for the church’s investment arm had filed an IRS complaint alleging the church should be forced to pay taxes on returns made from invested tithing funds.
No other Huntsman family members are involved in the complaint, James Huntsman’s attorney told the Washington Post, which first reported the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in central California.
The suit alleges the church defrauded church members by using tithing funds for purposes other than charity. Huntsman’s suit repeated others’ allegations that the church used $1.4 billion in tithing funds to help pay for City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City.
“Through this action,” the lawsuit said, “Mr. Huntsman seeks to recover his tithing funds that were fraudulently obtained by the LDS Corporation. He will then use the recovered funds to benefit organizations and communities whose members have been marginalized by the church’s teachings and doctrines, including by donating to charities supporting LGBTQ, African-American, and women’s rights. Unlike the LDS Corporation, Mr. Huntsman is confident that these charities will actually use his donations for their intended purposes.”
For more information visit deseret.com.
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