A member of Eddie Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church has spoken out against the civil lawsuit being brought against the pastor and his Atlanta, Ga., church.
Ten members of New Birth recently filed the lawsuit claiming that Long used his influence to coerce them into investing in a Ponzi scheme with the former chief executive of City Capital Corp. in Chicago, Ephren Taylor, which resulted in the depletion of at least $1 million of their savings.
Lillian Wells told CNN that she decided to invest with Taylor because she was looking for extra income after she had been laid off her job and had gone into real estate, and Taylor had her convinced the investment was a "sure thing."
However, Wells lost at least $122,000 in retirement savings and two years later she has had to foreclose her house.
"I've been hurt," Wells told CNN. "I'm looking for resolution and restitution at this point, and I haven't gotten that."
The lawsuit claims that that not only was Taylor not licensed to sell investments, but City Capital Corp. was bankrupt, information that both defendants should have known.
Wells said that during the seminar, part of the church's week-long "Wealth Live Tours" in Oct. 2009, Long vouched for Taylor and portrayed the investment as a "sure thing" in which returns were guaranteed because the investment was not driven by the stock market.
However, Wells never saw a return and although she was promised her money back by Taylor's attorneys, she never received it.
When asked if she trusted Long she said, "That's a difficult question. If I had the dollars to invest in something now, I wouldn't go into one of the things that he would recommend."
The current lawsuit comes in close succession to a trail of legal battles the New Birth Missionary Church pastor has faced over the past few months.
The most recent involves three of the five men that brought a lawsuit against Long, who claimed that he lavished them with expensive gifts, trips and provided financial assistance, all the while coercing and manipulating them into engaging in sexual misconduct. Long is reportedly seeking at least $900,000 of settlement money back from Jamal Parris, Spencer LeGrande and Centino Kemp after they violated their confidentiality agreements by speaking publicly to the media.