Eliza Walker Sep. 18, 2013, 3:49pm

NEW ORLEANS – A local baptist church is suing a man of the cloth who has installed himself as pastor after winning an election he allegedly held on wrongful terms.

Greater St. Matthew’s Baptist Church No. Two and Deacon Steve Dooley filed suit on behalf of the Membership of the Church against Rev. Cary Payton Sr. in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Dooley currently serves as moderator pro tem of the church, as the pulpit has been vacant since the death of its former pastor, the Rev. David Bates in 2013. The plaintiff alleges that Payton's election was not legitimate.

The suit claims that on June 26, the church conducted an election for pastor after proper notice to the membership. The election was held and resulted in a tie.

According to the complaint, on July 10, the defendant called and conducted a subsequent election, without giving the proper and customary notice to the church’s members. Neither the plaintiff, nor the secretary of the church were present, and thus did not call the election. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant called for this election under wrongful terms, and caused himself to be wrongfully elected.

Since the “unauthorized and unnoticed election,” the defendant has installed himself as pastor of the church and president of the board of directors to the “detriment and harm of the church and its members.”

The plaintiffs claim that Rev. Payton altered his resume, especially to hide a criminal history that would cause him to be deemed morally unfit to be pastor of the church.

The plaintiffs fear that the defendant will also take over the business and affairs of the church, including its bank accounts and immovable property and cause irreparable harm and embarrassment to the church.

The plaintiffs request that the court issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary and permanent injunction directed to the defendant to keep him from interfering, disturbing and otherwise taking over and functioning and serving as pastor.

Plaintiffs are represented by attorney Gilbert E. Stampley of New Orleans.

Case no. 2013-06971.

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