Just days after making his first media appearance since four young men accused him of sexual misconduct, Bishop Eddie Long appeared in a YouTube video making an appeal to City Capital and Ephren Taylor to return the $1 million in investments made by members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
The video, which runs under 3 minutes, was posted on Jan. 30 by the Franklin Media Group, headed by Long's spokesman Art Franklin.
In the YouTube video, Long explained that about a year ago City Capital and Taylor delivered a financial seminar at his church. Some members of his 25,000-strong congregation have invested about $1 million in IRAs, retirement accounts, that have yet to be returned after the investments went "sour," he said.
Long urged video viewers to join him in appealing to City Capital and Taylor to return the money to members of his church based in Lithonia, Ga.
"I'm making an appeal because once they shared with me their hardships," said Long. "I am a pastor. I have compassion for people. My whole is dedicated to helping people, establish them, establish a legacy for them to pass on to their children and their children's children."
The minister emphasized that he and New Birth did not receive any money from City Capital or Taylor for the seminar.
"They (seminars) were simply done to help people in the community to grow and to have a life," he said.
"Please do what's right," said Long in a personal appeal to Taylor. "You're a great fellow. You're a great man. You do great things. Let's settle this so that these families can move on."
The video does not mention that Taylor resigned from City Capital on Oct. 22.
Long is facing a string of lawsuits filed by four young men who accused him of coercing them into sexual relationships. The minister has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct but admitted to taking the men on trips and at times sharing a room with them.
When allegations became public, Long had pledged to fight them. More recent developments, including ongoing mediation talks between lawyers on both sides, indicate that the case might be headed toward out-of-court settlement. A tentative trial date is scheduled for July 7.
Last week, Long gave his first media interview since the lawsuits were filed. He spoke to WSBTV following a Trumpet Awards prayer breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Atlanta. He did not take any questions on the allegations or the ongoing mediation.