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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. D

    Church tidings is a joke. I have a several family members in church I have one who pays 10% of his check he started when he made $51,000.00 a year thats $5,000 a year and now he's lost his job 2 yrs back over a $100,000 year 30 years paying so the average would be 75,000 a year or $7,500 a year to church =$225,000 for 30 years I dont know about you people but I rather have it for retirement or in the case recession he hurting now and his church has him going through leaps and bounds to get what little they give him they also call it volunteer work or calling basically he's working twice for the same money what a joke. I told him a long time ago you are going to regret it now he does that money would be in his bank acct. and he would be okay.You can support you'll church if you want but there is money limit.

    February 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • D

      From what I have heard some churches are hurting which means a lot of people were not paying there full tidings or the churches would not be broke.You can be a member by paying what you can afford does not need to be 10% or 15% some churches ask for remember a church is based first by the number of people the church has or it will not exist.

      February 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  2. Sharon

    Eddie Long is directly responsible for this mess. His behavior, publicly and privately, has opened the door for the sheep to be robbed and taken advantage of. What he may want to do is sell the house and Bentley, get a Kia, live less lavishly and give that money back to the congregants. What he is doing posting this video just highlights the mess going on in the church for people who are lost. How will we win these souls and let them see that there is hope in Jesus when Eddie Long is up there parading himself? This is not about Eddie and his mess. He just wants to make sure that his income can remain steady. That is unconsionable! He is the one who needs to do the right thing.

    February 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  3. FRAN

    Long is a creep, a magot on society and a religious con man! Don't his followers see right through him? How can they not?

    February 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  4. TheBossIsOut

    Since the pastor drives a Bentley, maybe his church members wanted one too and decided to risk their retirement funds so that they too could drive around like their hypocrite leader in an expensive car.

    February 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  5. Jonathan

    NO HEAVEN FOR YOU!! NEXT!!!!

    February 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  6. TiredOfCrap

    I'm getting so fed up with people when it comes to investing in this country. You make an investment on the hope that you'll make money, there's no guarantee. You have to assess the risk vs. the reward and make a decision knowing full-well that you might end up losing your money. The new philosophy seems to be if I make money, great, if I lose money then I'll complain until they give me my money back.

    February 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • RDS

      Agree....unless you are swindled. Anytime someone takes advantage of a religious group of elderly folks and mysteriously their investments "go sour"....it's a bad deal. Shame on this nut for letting some financial guys pitch his church.
      There are lots of competent financial folks outside the church. Why the church ???......can you say kickback ???

      February 4, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  7. EmeraldCity

    When are New Birth members going to get that they need to give Long wide berth?

    February 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  8. long john give me your silver

    Long is a little short for his house payment next month, just being proactive

    February 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  9. BlackDynamite

    No honor among theives
    BD

    February 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  10. TheBossIsOut

    Some of his church members are having financial difficulties – while he drives around in a Bentley. King of hypocrites.

    February 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  11. coffeeandtea

    You religious people are being bamboozled. There is no God, and people who profess such nonsense are charlatans who are living a very rich (and unJesus-like) life on your dollars.

    Wake up, believe in science, and stop contributing to most of the ills in this world that are the result of religion.

    Stop being part of the problem, and be part of the solution!

    February 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Hmm

      You have the makings of a dictator! Killed many pets when you were younger?

      February 4, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Eyecee

      Not true!

      February 4, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  12. nOT Trash

    Thanks Religion!

    February 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  13. Scott

    "Yes lord, but lets not judge either. Not our place is it?"

    HA! But judging gay people and making up Nazi-like propaganda about them is fine. So full of it.

    February 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  14. fsmgroupie

    Way to go Eddie--- fleece that flock over and over again!!!

    February 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  15. Ben Tover

    I hear there are a bunch of teen boys who wish they had their trust and childhood back...

    February 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  16. Bill

    Hey guys your missing the point. If this works and he gets his money back. I want me money back too. Why didn't we think of just asking. Darn we are dumb.

    February 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  17. sports medic

    Atlanta's religious leaders have certainly come a long way.
    Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream.
    Bishop Long has a Bentley.

    February 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Ben Tover

      That's just not right. He has TWO Bentleys. God likes him that much. I hope his cell mates like him as much!

      February 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Eyecee

      Ben, I didn't know he had TWO Bentleys!

      February 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  18. denise10

    Since Im not pyschic, Im not for or against Bishop Long. I do know that most of the comments on here dont make any sense.
    Number 1, if you are christian, you know that the bible states that you should give 10%. This should be mainly given for the preaching of Gods word, i.e. although churches are non-profit they do not operate for free. They have mortagages and utilities and of course the better the preacher is at preaching God's word the more members its going to have, so of course that results in more money for the church and the pastor. And I dont see anything wrong with the pastor living well when he's teaching Gods word truthfully, but a pastor is just a man with flaws, and he shouldn't be looked at God, which some congregations are guilty of doing by putting there pastors on a pedestal, then we he does wrong they are devasted. If he has done wrong he should definitely be punished and God does give us all wisdom, so if something doesn't feel right you should follow your instinct and not do everything the pastor says you should do!! But for all the comments saying hes asking for the money back so he can have more money in his pocket, if that was the case he would have encouraged them to give it in the first place!!

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

      What's number 2? Or B? Did you run out of steam?

      February 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Denise, Please read 2 Corinthians chapter 9, verses 1-7! Let me know what you think verse 7 says. Compare KJV with the Good News Translation! Paul addresses the topic of giving! I give becuase of the reasons you stated. Missions, electrical bills, heat., A/C, facility maintenance, etc. pastorial support! None of that is free! Read and let me know!

      February 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Yeah, about translations

      Steve (the real one)...

      Since god has one word, one mind, how are there so many versions of it? Which one represents the nearest to the inspirer's intent?

      February 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      @Yeah..

      I don't know one soul who speaks "the King's English". Most modern translations attempt to more correctly translate the original Bibical languages (Hebrew of the OT and Greek and Ariamaic (sp)? of the NT). Others attempt to simplify the poetic language of the King James! I will submit some may be coming from left field! Yet through it all, just one word of God!

      February 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Yeah?

      Thanks Steve (the real one). Do you consider the Apocrypha to be the inspired word of God? Do you know when it was removed from the canon?

      February 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      @Yeah? You're welcome! I don't have an answer to your new question as that is catholic and I am not but I am sure Gerald or CatholicMom (if they are out there) can help. I do know that they are not a part of the Protestant Bible.

      February 4, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • RDS

      The bible says 10% ???? Are you serious??. If so then nothing, and I mean nothing I have heard makes me more SURE that the bible was written by men looking for control than this. Word of God my rear end...if it says 10%, it's FICTION.

      February 4, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Q

      Yeah RDS, where the hell they come up with 10%.

      February 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      RDS, please read what I asked Denise10 to read!

      February 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Yeah?

      Steve (the real one)..they were in the KJV until the late 1800s. Study more.

      February 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Yeah? Please then telll me why were they removed.

      February 4, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Yeah?

      Steve (the real one). You did not answer my question, but asked one instead. That's fine. Keep searching, you'll find the answer.

      February 4, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • Yeah?

      Steve (the real one),

      After some thought, I figured that you wouldn't look for the answer. The Apocrypha is not "a catholic thing" as you said. It was in the KJV for a long time before being removed. My point to you is, was the bible complete before it's removal, or was the material removed "added to" God's inspired word? Either way sir, it means that the canon is certainly a moving target. It's easy to memorize and quote scripture to fit an argument. It's dangerous however, to base faith on the inspired, rather than the inspirer. The NT has gone through many revisions, and none of the works are from original or even complete manuscripts. An example to use is abortion. The current canon contains no direct references, yet abortions happened even before Christ. Why is it not mentioned? It was. It was removed by a council that decided it was too controversial to retain. It was mentioned in the Didache, which was part of the canon prior to it's removal. Think about it, and no, it's not a catholic thing, and no, I am not catholic.

      February 5, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  19. Paul

    This hypocritical, down low, thieving son of a batch ought to crawl back under the rock he crawled out from under.
    Long is a piece of human garbage.
    Bishop of what??? Bishop of BullS*it

    February 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • dfs3660

      this gets an "AMEN" from me!

      February 4, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  20. J Richards

    You pays your money, you takes your chances. It is unfortunate that many of little means are pulled in. Many wealthy churchmen made their fortunes on the little people with faith.

    February 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
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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.