Georgia pastor, Bishop Eddie Long appears to have taken up permanent residency in a pot of scalding hot water. The latest controversy to scandalize the Bishop’s name comes in the form of a lawsuit filed against him by former parishioners of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
According to the lawsuit, a dozen of the church’s former members are claiming that Long introduced them to a shady businessman by the name of Ephren W. Taylor, implying that he was a “friend.” The members lost over $1 million by investing their money with the self-proclaimed “social capitalist”. Long’s former parishioners claim that both he and his assistant were warned that Taylor was running a $3 million deficit, yet he stood back and allowed them to invest with Taylor anyway.
“If Bishop Eddie Long hadn’t endorsed this they wouldn’t have invested,” Jason Doss, legal representative of the former New Birth members told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Ironically, although Long recommended that his congregation invest with Taylor, he decided that he would not invest. A representative from New Birth released a statement claiming that they have been urging Taylor to repay the money that the former parishioners invested with him.
“We remain hopeful that Ephren Taylor and companies related to him restore the funds that were taken from congregants at New Birth and churches around the county. We continue to cooperate as the case proceeds,” the statement read.
In 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Ephren W. Taylor with running a Ponzi scheme, in addition to a civil case that is also pending against him. According to the SEC, Taylor solicited investments by promising to use the money to assist charities and poverty-stricken areas. Instead, he used the money that he recieved from churches such as New Birth to pay off personal expenses and other investors.
“He preyed upon investors’ faith and their desire to help others, convincing them that they could earn healthy returns while also helping their communities,” said director of the SEC’s Forth Worth, Texas division, David Woodcock.
It’s unfortunate that Bishop Long would knowingly place his members into the hands of Taylor like sheep to be slaughtered, despite the fact that he received warning that the investor was deceitful. It’s difficult to imagine that he even still has a congregation after this.
Check out footage of the report on the next page. What do you make of this?