Bishop Eddie Long has made an unusual appeal on YouTube to an investment company on behalf of several members who are facing financial hardships because of investments that went “sour.”
In the YouTube video, the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church pastor said that a year or so ago, the church held a financial seminar to empower members and help them build a better quality of life. Long said several members made investments through City Capital Corp., and that some retirement accounts related to those have tanked.
The video and release offered few specifics and it’s unclear how many New Birth members were affected in the deals.
Long, who has been embroiled in recent months in lawsuits involving allegations of sexual abuse, said the matter “touches my heart deeply.”
He said that neither he nor New Birth benefited from the investments and urged City Capital and Taylor to “do what’s right” and return the investments with interest, if possible.
However, Taylor is disputing some of Long’s statements in the video.
Ephren W. Taylor, former chief executive of City Capital Corp., said in a statement that attorneys for the California firm have talked with and e-mailed members of New Birth about the investments.
Since last year, the statement said, “the legal team has been working with individuals to legally and privately resolve, refund and restructure any potential losses. To protect the integrity of the process, resolutions are confidential.”
At least 20 members invested considerable money with at least one now close to home foreclosure.
Taylor’s statement said discussions have been held as recently as January and included Maurice Waddell, New Birth’s chief operating officer.
Taylor left City Capital in October and since then, the statement said, has operated independently.
“However, in good faith, I have chosen to honor my commitment to assist in the efforts to advance a swift and positive conclusion for all parties,” he said.
Taylor, 28, also disputed Long’s assertion that neither he nor New Birth benefited from the business members did with City Capital. He said he met with Long in late 2009 before bringing the “Wealth Tour Live” to New Birth. He said the church received a percentage of product sales and planned to sell videos from the presentations. He also said New Birth worked with City Capital on a jobs creation project.
New Birth and Long later issued another statement.
“New Birth and Bishop Long are not personally attacking Ephren Taylor. … New Birth and Bishop Long are merely supporting New Birth members, who contacted their pastor regarding their concerns about their relationship with Ephren Taylor and City Capital Corporation. It was clear that the New Birth members expressed dissatisfaction with Ephren Taylor and City Capital Corporation with what they deemed was a lack of response and a lack of results,” according to the statement.