ATLANTA (AJC/WAOK)-A speaker invited to present a financial plan to church members has come back to haunt Bishop Eddie Long. Several former New Birth Missionary Baptist members have sued Long saying the mega church pastor encouraged them to invest money with a company despite being told the investor was running a $3 million capital deficit.
According to the AJC, the suit, filed late last month in DeKalb County state court, alleges Long’s assistant had been warned by an unidentified caller that Ephren W. Taylor was not to be trusted nearly two weeks before the self-professed “social capitalist” held a series of financial seminars in October 2009 at the Lithonia church.
New Birth, Long and Taylor are all named in the suit filed by 12 former church members who say they lost more than $1 million dollars in the alleged Ponzi scheme.
According to the lawsuit, Long did not invest himself, but urged his parishioners to invest with Taylor, who he introduced as his “friend (and) brother” prior to his pitch before the church.
Bishop Long has posted a video on You Tube asking Taylor to refund money back to those who invested with his company.
The former church members allege that they were issued a promissory note informing them Taylor was investing their money in real estate, guaranteeing a 20 percent return. Church members say they never received any return on their investment.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also has a civil case pending against Taylor, who’s alleged to have targeted more than 1,000 investors, mostly church members. He’s accused of diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars for personal expenses and to fund his wife’s singing career.
Taylor has never been criminally charged.
The suit filed in DeKalb state court marks the second time in three years Long has been sued by former members. In May 2011, he reached a settlement with four young men who had alleged sexual coercion. Financial terms were not disclosed. A fifth member, Centino Kemp, who did not sue but who received a settlement released a book last week entitled, “First Lady.”