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    Rev. Lyons, ex-wife settle dispute over divorce terms

    The former Baptist leader will pay all debt related to his crimes and may later pay alimony.

    ©Associated Press
    March 30, 2003


    TAMPA -- The Rev. Henry J. Lyons, the jailed former leader of the National Baptist Convention USA, has reached a divorce agreement with his wife.

    Lyons, who is serving prison time on racketeering and grand theft charges, reached an amicable divorce agreement with his ex-wife, Deborah, who stood by him during two years of state and federal investigations and trials.

    The agreement was formalized by a judge last week.

    Lyons sued for divorce in 2001 and demanded that his wife pay him alimony and pay back part of the more than $6-million he owes victims in liens and judgments, court records show.

    But in the divorce agreement, Lyons accepted responsibility for that debt in addition to $20,496 in unpaid state taxes.

    Deborah Lyons agreed to pay half of a $2,500 American Express bill, and the couple split up three life insurance annuities with unspecified balances, court records show.

    Henry Lyons remains incarcerated at the Bartow Work Release Center, where he is scheduled for release Nov. 30.

    He is serving a 51/2-year state prison term. That sentence runs concurrently with a 41/4-year federal prison term for fraud and tax evasion.

    The divorce agreement states that Deborah Lyons may seek alimony of up to $14,400 a year starting one year after her ex-husband is released from prison.

    The couple's St. Petersburg home, along with jewelry, cars and a $700,000 Tierra Verde home Lyons owned with another woman, were seized by the federal government.

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