Eddie Long: The Bishop Wants His Money Back After His Accusers Breach Confidentiality, But That’s Not As Easy As It Seems; Plus Some of His Parishioners Are Suing Him for Fraud and The Feds Are Now Involved

The Bishop Eddie Long scandal shows absolutely no signs of quieting down after a year’s worth of drama.  It could be ascribed to tying up some loose ends, but it’s much, much more than that.  Once you think things have calmed down a bit, more gets added to the pot and those things get stirred to the point of bubbling.  Most of the time, though, it’s Eddie Long who’s doing the stirring.  Me, I’m just following the money–and the waste.  Observe:

  • As a result of Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande’s breaching confidentiality and giving detailed interviews about the nature of their relationships with Eddie Long, and for announcing that they’re writing a book, Bishop Long demanded his money back.  Or rather, his church’s  insurance company‘s attorneys most probably did.  But it’s going to be a bit harder for Long to recoup that money than he thinks.  His side is going to have provide more proofs before the young men are compelled by the court to return the money.  And that could take months, even years.

Financial terms of that settlement have not been disclosed but, based on the letter and the fact each of the young men were paid equitably, the total comes to at least $1.5 million.

The letter outlines the plaintiffs’ “demand for arbitration” though no legal documents have yet been filed.

The letter could simply be a threat, said Atlanta litigator Hayden Pace.

“No one’s going to turn over the money just simply because you’ve asked for it,” Pace said. “You’re going to have to earn it back by establishing your right to it in the courts.”

  • Brenda Joy (otherwise known as  B. J.)  Bernstein, the attorney for the five young men, wasn’t going to wait for that development.  She dropped the three accusers, Jamal Parris, Spencer LeGrande and Centino Kemp, as her clients for violating the terms of their confidentiality agreement, and thus endangering further payouts, her own paycheck, and her reputation.   The other two accusers, Anthony Flagg and Maurice Robinson, have so far kept silent in accordance with their agreement with Long.

Kemp, who has Long’s name tattooed on his right arm, lashed out at Long in a string of expletive-laden Twitter posts from his @CentinoKemp account this week, asking the minister: “why thats all i want to no (sic).”

Kemp’s message, dated Aug. 30 on the social networking website, was directed to “@BishopEddieLong,” the official Twitter account for Long listed on New Birth‘s website.

[…]

Kemp’s rants appear to have started on Monday, Aug. 29, when he typed: “Some Nights are hard to sleep cant stop thinking about the past pain…”

The following day, Kemp tweeted: “I am sick of living a lie and hideing (sic) my pain in a fake […] smile and your walking around like its ok…”

Kemp’s other tweets range from anger and sadness to confusion and hope of one day being commended by God.

Umph on that last sentence.  Commend yourself, ‘Tino.  Save yourself.

“Many of us with our wealth and with our money, we’re foolish,” Ephren Taylor told thousands of New Birth members during church services in October 2009.

Lillian Wells says the foolish decision she made was trusting Taylor and his company with her life savings, $122,000.

“He needs to be put under the jail, not in the jail,” said Wells, who is now a plaintiff in the lawsuit along with nine others. She says Taylor’s company promised her a 20 percent return in interest.

The lawsuit claims Taylor in some cases assured church members the investments ‘were safe, conservative and that they would provide guaranteed income.’ It turns out Taylor and his companies were not licensed to sell investments or render investment advice in Georgia.

“I think he knew what he was doing all along and just was there for a farce. It was all false,” Wells told Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer.

Fleischer asked Wells if she would have invested with Taylor if he wasn’t recommended by Bishop Long.

“I wouldn’t have. Flat out, I wouldn’t have,” Wells replied.

She says that’s exactly what she told federal agents from the Secret Service who questioned her last month about Taylor’s activities and the investments.

Attorney Quinton Seay says several of the other plaintiffs were also questioned.

Secret Service Agent Malcolm Wiley confirmed the Secret Service now has an open case on Ephren Taylor and his companies’ activities.

And yeah, there were computers seized. Via the AJC from The Church Lady:

The U.S. Secret Service has confiscated laptop computers from Bishop Eddie Long’s Lithonia megachurch, and the Georgia secretary of state is investigating an investment company and its former chief executive for possible securities violations involving investments sold to Long church members.

[…]

A U.S. Secret Service spokesman told Channel 2 Action News the agency is performing forensic examinations on laptops from New Birth on behalf of DeKalb County police, but the federal agency would not divulge any specifics. The actions of the federal and state agencies are separate, the state said. However, attorneys for the church members said some of their clients have had been approached by the Secret Service about the alleged investment scheme.

The Secret Service investigates computer-related crimes and counterfeiting besides protecting political figures and dignitaries.

And the State of Georgia is also bearing down on Bishop Long and Ephren Taylor, too.

[..T]he securities division of Georgia’s Secretary of State’s office confirms it has launched a separate investigation involving potential violations of Georgia’s Securities Act by Ephren Taylor and his company, City Capital Corporation. Investigators want to know how the church members came to invest with Taylor and whether any laws were broken.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp said, “It is possible the scope of the investigation could expand as we obtain additional information. If any individuals believe they may have information relating to our investigation, they are urged to contact the Secretary of State’s office.”

Attorneys for Wells and the other plaintiffs say Bishop Eddie Long and his church should also be responsible for the investment losses.

“With regard to the Georgia securities laws, he stepped out of the traditional role as a pastor and stepped into the role as a salesman of securities,” said Jason Doss, Wells’ attorney.

In fact the new lawsuit alleges ‘New Birth and Bishop Long directly or indirectly received compensation from the other defendants, for allowing them to render investment advice and to solicit the investment opportunities.’

“If that is so, that would mean that maybe he was a part of it,” added Wells.

I’ve always felt that despite what he has professed in the past, that Eddie Long either demanded a fee from Taylor to address his congregation or was given a kickback of the proceeds or both. After reading all kinds of articles about the bishop since the scandal began, Long strikes me as the kind of guy that wouldn’t turn down a fee or an inducement, or even ask for one with no questions asked about what was being presented or sold. Then he would call it by some other name, like “tithing” for his books. If any of this is so, it means that Long was only thinking of feathering his own nest, and not protecting his congregation from being cheated.  If either is confirmed, well

So what is it going to take, New Birth?  Your pastor got his closet door blown to smithereens, and ten former parishioners are alleging that he helped to swindle them for the Almighty Dollar in the name of the Almighty.  What is it going to take?  The Feds or the states never come down on anyone unless they feel that they really have a case.  They crawl all over fraud cases, and when it comes to misbehaving pastors, it becomes all too easy to find that the books have been dressed up.  Remember, in one of my previous stories regarding this case, Long had already announced a completed audit this year to reassure his skittish flock during a church service, possibly in anticipation that the Feds would eventually strike.  So Long knew earlier this year that it would only be a matter of time.

For his sake, that audit—-and others—-had better be for real.  He’d better hope that his accountants weren’t setting him up for a fall, or that the expenditures can be proved legal or don’t point to bribes or payoffs or other questionable dealings or “investments.”   Else Eddie Long’s going find himself in the slammer, and not in one of those country club prisons, either.

Remember the video of a weeping Jim Bakker being perp-walked to jail after his excesses were revealed?

Perhaps then, his New Birth parishioners will finally get the message.

~ by blksista on October 24, 2011.

 
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