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Eddie Long, investor clash over church money
February 3rd, 2011
05:45 PM ET

Eddie Long, investor clash over church money

Bishop Eddie Long, the Atlanta pastor who has received massive media attention since four young men accused him of sexual coercion last September, is entangled in a dispute with an entrepreneur over $1 million in investments that Long wants returned to his church members.

The week-long dispute has included dueling press statements, an accusation of character assassination and a YouTube video in which Long pleaded with the entrepreneur to show compassion.

Long, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Church in suburban Atlanta,  said in the YouTube video that Ephren Taylor from City Capital Corporation held a “wonderful” financial seminar at his church last year that inspired some members  to invest about $1 million in retirement accounts through the corporation.

Long said those investments went “sour” and is asking Taylor and City Capital to return the money because some investors from his 25,000-member church are experiencing hardships.

“Please do what’s right,” Long said, addressing Taylor in the video posted on Sunday. “You’re a great fellow. You’re a great man. You do great things. Let’s settle this so these families can move on.”

Long, who declined to be interviewed, did not say in his video how the investment allegedly went sour.

He says that neither he nor New Birth received any "financial blessing or gift" from hosting Taylor’s seminar.

Efforts to reach City Capital, which has an Atlanta address, by phone over a two-day period were unsuccessful because the line remained constantly busy. Taylor, who said he left his position as CEO of City Capital last year, released a public statement on Tuesday.

Taylor called Long’s YouTube video misleading.

“Due to many inaccuracies, and based upon what I view as a direct character assassination and an attempt to paint a picture of an inability, on my part, to take responsibility for the actions of City Capital Corporation during my tenure as CEO, I am extending facts…” Taylor wrote in his statement.

Taylor declined an interview request.

Taylor said that he has been personally involved in resolving concerns from New Birth members. He said City Capital attorneys hosted a conference call with “all New Birth members involved” as recently as last month.

Taylor said City Capital’s legal team had also contacted New Birth members via telephone and e-mail based on a list provided by the church.

“Since last year, the legal team has been working with individuals to legally and privately resolve, refund and restructure any potential issues,” Taylor said.

Taylor also disputed Long’s claim that New Birth did not make any money from his seminar. He said the church “received a percentage of product sales” from his seminar.

Long released a statement Wednesday saying that he stood behind his video.

“New Birth and Bishop Long are not personally attacking Ephren Taylor, or his former company. New Birth and Bishop Long are merely supporting New Birth members…” Long's statement said.

Long reiterated that he did not receive any personal financial benefits from Taylor’s appearance at New Birth but said it is standard practice for New Birth’s bookstore to handle speakers and vendors who appear at the church.

“There are associated operational costs in having these events occur at New Birth, which as a matter of policy, are to be reimbursed by the applicable speaker or vendor,” Long's statement said.

Long has denied the sexual coercion claims against him and asked that the suits be dismissed. The men alleged in the suits that Long used his position as their spiritual counselor to pressure them into sexual relationships, and gave them gifts that included money and cars.

A judge set a tentative trial date for this July, but both parties have agreed to meet for mediation, which is expected to be held in mid-February.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Georgia • Pastors • United States

soundoff (362 Responses)
  1. Church of Suicidal

    "Here comes another con hiding behind a collar
    His only god is the almighty dollar
    He ain't no prophet, he ain't healer
    He's just a two bit g-d money stealer"

    February 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  2. Matt

    Why is it that I work a below minimum wage job, yet still donate money to charity, when Bishop Long has a freaking Bently? For reference, the cost of his car alone could pay for hundreds of thousands of meals for starving children. I'm an atheist, and I know helping out kids in need is far more spiritually fulfilling than buying a gratuitously priced car.

    February 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  3. Ben

    This is quite interesting. Why isn't anyone at New Birth asking 'Bishop' Long to return his Bentleys, his Mansions, the million$ that he stole from his congregation while living a double life?

    February 4, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  4. Patrick A

    All these Crooks in the Church are Con artists,just like all Governments,ever wonder why do religions and governments always go hands in hands.

    February 4, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  5. JOHN LONGJOHN

    WAW WAW WAW Bishop Long, I lost alot of money too to the stock market going sour, are they going to re-inbuse me too?

    February 4, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  6. D

    He allegedly screwed four young men and now allegedly screwed the church with their money. One way or another he allegedly screwed someone. Hey I am going to allegedly screw my wife now.

    February 4, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  7. Steve Johnson

    These two clowns deserve each other.....it's unfortunate for those people who invested....

    February 4, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • bigbell

      I hope this is not s j who is at work right now

      February 4, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • ThePatriot20

      Somebody's boss is snooping!

      February 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  8. The Watcher

    ALL of these mega-church clowns are crooks. The gullible fill the coffers hoping for salvation. It is what it is and the flock gets to feel good, I know that I would now, da da na na na na na !

    February 4, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  9. Steve the real one

    $1,000,000? That's about 4 Bentleys! Sell, Sell, Sell!

    February 4, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  10. Marco555

    Phony.

    February 4, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  11. DB

    How do you know when Long is lying? His lips are moving.

    February 4, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  12. Truth

    "the average church goer is not bright"..what an ignorant comment to make, "Lefty"...."Lefty" and "not bright" actually mean the same thing.

    You missed that part buddy, because you're both. =)

    February 4, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  13. Fricsaid

    Please allow me to shed a little more light on this matter. This "financial endeavour" was nothing more than a mortgage scam and yes, Long was in on it. By him saying the church recieved a percentage, he should be saying that he recieved a percentage. And as the poor little old ladies started to see they were being swindled and stand to loose their home,s their "faith" in Mr. Long started to diminish.

    What I see is Mr. Long throwing his parnter in crime under the bus. I'm sure the way Mr. Long would love to see his flock get a million back. Thats more money he can fleece from them. Mark my word, before everything is said and done, I see Mr. Long doing some serious prison time.

    It is said that there are more pictures of Ed Long in the church then there are crosses. We are expected to swallow crap like "prosperity gospel." What a load. I call that putting a bow tie on a turd. You Sir, are a cad and a charlatan and you have no place in the house of God.

    February 4, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Bravo

      Well put.

      February 4, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • mattymatt

      It's a scam .. plain and simple. Any legit investment done last year would have easily gained at least 10%. minimum. Conmen hit up churches all the time for investment fraud.

      February 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  14. stan

    if long is concerned about the hardship on his 'church' members, why not just sell off those hundreds of thousands in diamond jewelry the church bought for him and use that money to give back to the parishoners.

    February 4, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  15. elidude

    He led them into temptation, HE brought in the seminar,... let HIM pay "his people" back!!!!

    This guy stinks like last week's garbage.

    February 4, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • D

      (stink)I was thinking a fish tank left in the sun with dead fish in it

      February 4, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Ryan Strahs

      II agree completely. I mean it is not the investment company's fault that the Investment went sour. I mean they could have invested $1 Million into stocks and the same thing happen. I mean if the company did something fraudulently, then yes "give the money back", but at the same time someone from that company would be going to jail. In this case, the investors made a bad investment. It happens all the time in this country.

      February 4, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  16. Jessica

    Long is one of those that preach that if you love god money will come your way. Apparently he is wrong and helped a man possibly dupe his followers out of money. Or more probable is that they were just bad investments. Investing is a crap shoot, sometimes you win other times you lose. You're not special Mr. Long so stop expecting special help when things don't go your way. And leave kids ALONE!

    February 4, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  17. Geoz

    A church in scandle. Who could have anticipated that?

    February 4, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  18. Alex

    does the stench of this hypocrite know no bounds?

    February 4, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  19. MrMailman

    That money belongs to the church members, but basically that money belongs to me heheheh

    February 4, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  20. Sludge

    Look at his picture,. This man is stoned.

    February 4, 2011 at 11:36 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.