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. Lux

    I love the fact that he can call himself a bishop. I am in no way a Catholic, but that would be like me calling myself a doctor just because I feel like it. I think I will start calling myself Bishop Lux. It gives the illusion of importance when in reality there is none to be found.

    February 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  2. Robin Bray

    What was Long's cut? He did not let these people in for free.

    February 4, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  3. Tom

    Why don't you give them some of that money you have been skimming from the church for all these years. I thought that was the idea about giving to the church so they could take care of their members. Maybe he is only interested in himself.

    February 4, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  4. Ya'Know

    @ Chris – My youth and the kids are safe. I'm not a pr3dator, but you're fricken paranoid. Your kids get more s3xual as$ault from peers in schools than the sheeps in wolf clothing inside religious circles. We "normal" folks have to hear about it and report as such–but of course, Media doesn't get a kick out of real christians and you'll never meet us because you won't open your door to our knocking or come to our block parties.

    @BR – Understandable. But my issue is that I know of a lot of ministers who do drive nice cars, I rarely hear them preach finances and are always much more giving than I am.

    February 4, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Ya'Know

      Lol. I mean wolf's in sheep's clothing.

      February 4, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Ya'Know

      Again, Chris, I'm a volunteer. I dont' get paid. Can't fleece them even if I tried, it would just go to my pastor.

      February 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  5. inga

    I want all the money back I've lost in bad investments too!

    February 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • BlackRhino

      Good one, I was thinking the same thing. LOL
      Heck...give me back the money i lost gambling while you are at it

      February 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  6. LeftRightLef

    OK...let's see. These good congregational folks believe that following the words and teachings of a collection of stories, bound together in a book, which was inspired by God, in which God declares that the Jews are the chosen people, and these folks are not Jews....yet this will provide a path to eternal life in heaven. ..... You think these folks can believe BS put out by some smooth snake oil salesmen? No...of course not. And that preacher? .... I wouldn't trust him with my pit bull.

    February 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  7. BlackRhino

    I would not follow this fool just based on that toupee along. He looks like a retired member of the Ohio Players.

    February 4, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      SAAY WHAAT? I hope you get that!

      February 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  8. BlackRhino

    The most upsetting part about this is how defensive many of the members of Long's church are. I know this defensiveness is really a shield to protect them of their own insecurities, but people, quit defending this piece of doggy doo.

    February 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  9. Chris

    Where else would his congregation's welfare checks go? If not this faulty investment it'd either go to drugs or bishop long's account. They'll waste it either way and long knows this!

    February 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • BlackRhino

      @Chris I believe one of the wheels on your trailer has a flat; your wife, I mean your sister says come back to the trailer park to change it

      February 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Chris


      You are so clever! Wow. A trailer trash joke. I'm a very well educated person (masters degree) who can see when people are being taken advantage of by a "used car" salesman. His congregation is obviously quite poorly educated – otherwise why would they continue to back a person who molested children in his congregation? Why would they give a penny of their money to someone that this crook endorsed? Answer? They are STUPID.

      February 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  10. BlackRhino

    The Black Church for so long (too long) have been at the center, foundation, and voice of Black America. With the exception of Obama, most of the black leaders in the United States come out of the church. This makes the black church relevant...but I am also disgusted and distrusting of many black church leaders including Long. The likes of Long, Jakes, Meeks, Dollar, etc. have totally turned me off with religion. The church has become a business and the congregation is nothing more than a herd of mindless followers. DO NOT FOLLOW MAN AND RELIGION, believe in something greater...but also, believe in yourself.

    February 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Normally

      I would dispute this. But since I've met a few of this culutre and claim to believe the same as I, I tend to agree about the mindless part. Very difficult to have conversations with them.

      February 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      @ BlackRino – Only the blind will put his/her eyes and trust on man instead of God. I have a Black Pastor whom I greatly respect and love. A very true man of God, but my I put my eyes and trust in Christ, not on my Pastor. He told us many time that he is an imperfect human being as we are, so with that said, stop being to self-righteous. If religion turns you off, than you are not walking with God as you should, to begin with. Allow your heart to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

      February 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Black Rhino,

      Humans have messed you over and NOT Jesus! I agree religion is messed up. Relationship with God through Jesus is a relationship and not a religion! If you cannot watch those folks you have mentioned just realize there many others out theer tha teach God's word. One is Charles F. Stanley. He teaches God's word and is a soft spoken man! Rhino, don't give up on God! He loves you too much! I have learned overtime when to change the channel! God bless you and I hope you consider what I have said!

      February 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • BlackRhino

      @ HeisGod...I was careful to say that religion turns me off and not God. I am a believer in something bigger and more powerful than man, but I stand by my statement that religion turns me off. Religion is a man made concept that tries to include God as a justification of its existence. i DO NOT need another man, and neither do you, to tell me how to be faithful to God. I am of the belief that we will all be judged on not what we say but on what we do in this world. The Holy Spirit tells me "do not be a fool".

      February 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • BlackRhino

      @stevethe real one...Again I will pass on the religion

      February 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  11. allanhowls

    Why would you take advice on money from people who think death is just a temporary setback?

    These are not reality-based people.

    February 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Why

      would i take advice on how to live from people who think this is all there is?

      February 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  12. Truth and Justice

    the bible
    written by man
    edited by man
    proclaimed to be the word of god........by man

    exploited by man

    February 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Chris

      Well said. People just believe whatever that idiot yells about on Sundays. The sad part is his congregation will still be too stupid to realize this even after his molestation charges and his assistance in them losing their retirement savings. They'll just keep coming back for more!

      February 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Ya'Know

      The bible written by man while inspired by God
      possibly edited by man (considering the fragments are numerous)
      Proclaimed the word of god by both God and man
      Obviously exploited by man.

      This denotes a false God? Or corrupt man?

      I vote for the second. Considering if every jot was preached, followed and lived by the folks you seem to know, you would understand.

      February 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Truth and Justice

      inspired by god........says the man

      February 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Silvershado

      You may be right. But in the far past, religion – for instance, Greek and Roman mythologies – had social benefits. Those morality tales were chock-full of wisdom while Egyptian mythology went further by answering questions like who made us? Will we have an afterlife and, if so, will we be judged? On and on, a progression as man climbed out of ignorance and fear.

      February 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Ya'Know

      @ TaJ – Na, I've more experience than simply reading. But if that's all your limited to, then I could just as easily argue that all of history could be wrong because "man" wrote it. But that wouldn't be acceptable now would it? So, who gets to pick and choose what we can accept as truth without question?

      @ Sil – Being as how hebrew culture lived under Egyptian rule for a few hundred years, I wouldn't put it past the possibility of Egyptian thinking being influenced by such a mass of people. Greek and roman social benefits? You mean to say there were no social benefits listed in the first five books of the OT? I read quite a few, such as loan's with no interest (HEY, THAT'S A GOOD ONE!)

      February 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  13. Silvershado

    Unfortunately, church members are easily scammed. They trust their own- the reason Bernie Madoff was able to fleece other well-to-do Jews.

    February 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  14. Bunnie

    Why don't YOU foot the bill, Eddie? We all know darned well you have the money. Heck, sell off a few of those expensive cars.

    February 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Ya'Know

      I'm a volunteer minister. I give tremendusly in both finances and time. I still plan on getting me a 250k BMW. Am I a crook?

      February 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Chris

      ya know.....

      If you fleeced your congregation for said car, yes. (also, before you ask, if you touch young boys in your congregation that's wrong too)

      February 4, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • BlackRhino

      @ ya know... of course not. If you earned your own money and can afford a 250k car then I am happy for you. Most of us on here that are expressing disdain for Long is basing these feelings on Long's manipulation and capitalizing on his followers.

      February 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  15. Mojonaamdi

    The disgraced Bishop Long is just doing this to show that he 'cares' abouit the people with the hope that they would look past his abuse of those young boys/men. he is trying to put on teh face of a compassionate and caring man. But as other have already said, if he so cares, why not downsize to a 3,000 sq ft home modest home and give up the $200,000 autos etc.,? Naaaah. Will never happen.

    February 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  16. Bubba linka

    he is a crook and a molester. He is trying to have this settled through mediation so that he does not have all the details spelled out in a court of law. I agree with another response, he lives this palatial lifestyle while his congregants cannot even afford food for their table.

    February 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  17. snowbear40

    noticed he said "he didn't PERSONALLY make anything"..what a LOW LIFE..ur position doesn't give u the right to get something personal..ur suppose to b a representative of the LORD and trust me the LORD wouldn't do half or a tenth of what most u thieves do..
    i agree w/the comment on how they sit in thier multi-million dollar homes and drive thier mercedes while thier congregation is starveing..do u think the good LORD would want that?i would say NO NO and NO..get a grip and stop the hypocrisy..

    February 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  18. kds562

    You invest and loose – write it off like everyone else or you can sell your homes and cars and pay your congregation back as any good compassionate preacher would

    February 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  19. Matt

    Modern day Christians have RUINED jesus' name

    February 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Thanks

      for helping!

      February 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  20. The Devil

    I am the lord of darkness. god is dead and you people are fools for believing religion. this pastor wants to give back $1M to 25,00 people? that's $40 a head, enough to buy a seat in my hose for eternity. think of the money america could have invested in the country if we decided to tax all churches, synagogues, and mosks?! 666

    February 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Em,

      you lose in the end. So I'll pass on any idea you endorse.

      February 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • The Devil

      @ Em, I can't wait to meet you!

      February 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Em(manuel)

      Have you forgotten, we've met.

      February 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
About this blog

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.