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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. SinisterMidget

    Hilarious!
    Brilliant move by Taylor, going after people who are obviously unable to think for themselves.
    The joke of a pastor is upset because he got beat at his own game; and because he could REALLY use that $1M for his lawyers to defend his habit of boffing young boys.

    February 4, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  2. KP

    are you serious?? These people gave their money away after sitting through a seminar.....didn't they do research before giving their money away?? HELLO!! we have way too many stupid people living in the United States...they deserve to lose the money give me a break!

    February 4, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  3. Atlanta Native

    Is "Bishop" code for low down dirty crook?

    February 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • D

      Bishop is a code word for SUCKERS

      February 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  4. Atlanta Native

    Eddie Long is a crook! This guy is just using this church as a way to make money hand over fist, and the very sad part about it is he still he people following him...(to hell)-Folk need to bail outta that place quick.

    February 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  5. JayKay

    Investing — you win some you loose some. That's the way it goes. If you're not prepared to handle the loss, don't play the game. You can't loose and then get your cash back (unless you work on Wall Street and have little puppet politicians in your pocket). Deal with it.

    February 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  6. truthinrock

    No one But the media seem to be interested in this bozo.

    February 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  7. alias

    This must be an early April Fools joke.

    Uh hey Steve Wynn and Donald Trump listen I blew 40k at your casinos and now having trouble paying my electric bill and the kids need new ipods, so I'll need my investment back.

    Reminds me of the scene in Casino where Joe Pesci's character threatens to kill the investment banker if he doesn't refund his lost money.

    February 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  8. baily

    Eddie Long should just step down, he is just trying to save faith with his members, why don't he pay the members back, he got them in the mess in the first place, he ask the company to give the seminor. Now he wants to make them look like the bad guy. Don't believe anything the "Bishop" says, said or will say.

    February 4, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  9. Q

    Isn't this all part of "God's plan"?

    February 4, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      In a word....no!

      February 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  10. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    These big budget "churches" are businesses masquerading as non-profits. Quite the scam.

    February 4, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • StevenR

      I have news for you: ALL CHURCHES ARE SCAMS.

      Pay you OWN WAY. NO MORE TAX EXEMPTIONS. If you love god, the tax exemption should not matter.

      All the Tea Baggers out there. Here's one for you:
      How about we REDUCE THE DEFICIT by Seizing ALL CHURCH PROPERTY. You all get your rewards in Heaven. WHY DO YOU PEOPLE OWN HUGE CHURCHES MAKE ME PAY FOR IT? That is in NOW WAY CONSERVATIVE. That is THEFT.

      February 4, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  11. F-ckEddieLong

    Who cares.... I hope that rapist has problems the rest of his life!

    February 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  12. cheekbrown

    I wasn't going to leave a comment, but after reading some of these comments, I must leave one. When a preacher falls: (1) non-believers feel justified and they mock believers, and (2) the faith of believers is put to the test. Whether Bishop Long did or did not do what he is accused of, this SHOULD be confirmed by the court system. There will always be non-believers, but a preacher needs to be extra careful that he or she is not part of the reason for someone being lost and going to hell.

    February 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • MizMc

      There's an old saying "in every pound of lie, there's an ounce of truth". You may wait for the courts to help you decide, but I don't have to. My faith is not tested as I chose not to put my faith in a man.

      February 4, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  13. Martin

    So, let me get this right. This guy encourages his Church members to invest money with a broker, the investments then lose money, and he blames the broker rather than apologizing for his bad referral?

    Sounds about right for the Church.

    You invest money, it can go down as well as up. Investment Class 101, first day.

    Not the broker's problem, Bishop Long. It's another problem to add to what appears to be your growing list.

    February 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  14. anonymous

    There should not BE ANY 'CHURCH MONEY'. There should not BE ANY INVESTORS... WHAT in H E L L do they think they are running over there?

    February 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  15. Jack

    What is a flock for if not fleecing?

    February 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • D

      A flock is a group of people dumb enough to had over to a guy their money who talks about god and lets him live off their money.

      February 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • D

      Apparently blind too as one could see his house and lifestyle should be a clue.

      February 4, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  16. martoon

    Looks like the Rev. bought his jacket at the Star Trek lawn sale.

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

      Lost in space sale ( 60s tv )

      February 4, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • D

      He wears it over his $10,000 suit.

      February 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  17. martoon

    The good Reverand should have invested his money with ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER and he would have gotten a good return.

    February 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  18. Church of Suicidal

    "Now how much you give is your own choice
    But to me it's the difference between a Porsche and a Rolls Royce
    I want you to make it hurt when you dig into your pocket
    It makes me feel so good as I watch my profits rocket!"

    Can I get an amen?

    February 4, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  19. RDS

    The "investments went sour"....gee now there's a surprise !!

    February 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  20. Steven

    I like the "invisible man in the sky" quiet cute, ignorant but cute.

    February 4, 2011 at 1:54 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.