More legal problems for disgraced "Bishop" Eddie Long, the Atlanta-based anti-gay televangelist accused of luring at least five young men into sexual relationships. Ten current and former members of New Birth Mssionary Baptist Church are suing the pastor and church for conspiring to defraud them, reports WSB and CBS News.
The plaintiffs said in a lawsuit that in 2009, Long invited Ephren Taylor, then CEO of the company, to speak at New Birth, and that Taylor told members how they could get rich. Instead, the plaintiffs said they lost all of their money.
U.S. Secret Service spokesman Mark Ritchie says agents have seized laptops from employees at New Birth in Lithonia, Ga. One church member, Lillian Wells, says she lost $122,000, her entire life savings. "[Taylor] knew what he was doing and it was one more plot to get money from us," Wells told WGCL. New Birth's spokesman Art Franklin declined to comment.
"Wells’ story is at the center of [the] lawsuit," reports CNN. "Wells and nine others claim [Long] "coerced" them into investing in a Ponzi scheme that wiped out at least $1 million in their retirement savings."
Long uploaded a YouTube video in February to appeal to Taylor to return almost $1 million. Long and another local anti-gay mega-church leader, Gary Hawkins, are also linked to a "questionable mortgage venture".
The latest lawsuit comes six months after Long reached an out-of-court settlement with at least five young men who had accused him of sexual coercion. The lawsuits accuse Long of using church funds to give them cash, gifts and cars. Read the complaints HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.
Too bad Long and New Birth cannot help those church members who are in foreclosure or who lost their homes. The pastor is too busy using church funds to pay house notes for teenage boys. But most of the congregation doesn't seem to mind.
R20's complete EDDIE LONG coverage.