SALT LAKE CITY — Attorneys for James Huntsman are asking California's 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to revive his high-profile tithing fraud lawsuit against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Huntsman, a member of the wealthy family and brother of former Utah governor and U.S. ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr., sued the faith alleging that it misspent millions in tithing dollars given to the church to fund the City Creek Center mall project in downtown Salt Lake City and prop up its insurance arm. The Church repeatedly denied his claims and a federal judge in Los Angeles sided with the faith in a ruling earlier this month.
The appeal is not unexpected. Huntsman's lawyers told FOX 13 when he initially lost the litigation that he would appeal. Huntsman said that if he prevails, he would seek millions in reimbursement from the Church and donate it to charities "supporting LGBTQ, African-American, and women’s rights."
The lawsuit itself has cast an eye on the vast finances of the Latter-day Saint church, including funds that have generated billions. But the Church has repeatedly insisted that no tithing dollars were used to support its commercial ventures.