Bishop Eddie Long Lawsuit: Businessman Accused of 'Ponzi' Scheme by New Birth Members Speaks Out
Ephren Taylor, the former chief executive of City Capital Corp. in Chicago, is speaking out against the lawsuit brought against him by church members who have accused him and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church pastor Eddie Long of co-conspiring to encourage congregants of the Lithonia, Ga., megachurch to put their savings into bad investments.
"Don't assume that I am just another greedy businessman," Taylor said in a statement to The Associated Press. "I am taking action to make things right."
Taylor visited New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Oct. 2009 as part of the church's week-long "Wealth Tour Live Series." He and Long allegedly convinced some members of the congregation to invest their savings with Taylor, guaranteeing returns. However, the investments went sour, leading to the depletion of at least $1 million of investors' savings.
The lawsuit, filed by ten New Birth members, claims that not only was Taylor not licensed to sell investments, but that City Capital Corp. was bankrupt, information that both defendants should have known.
Taylor told The Associated Press that he used his influence with good intentions and the bad turn the investments took was beyond his control.
"In my case and that of my former company, some of the negative effects of a situation with very complex economics impacted businesses, individuals and families despite our best intentions," he said.
Neither Taylor nor Long is a stranger to legal troubles.
The recent lawsuit is just one of a string that have plagued Long in the past few months, the most recent involving three of the five men that brought a lawsuit against Long claiming 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.
Taylor is currently embroiled in a separate lawsuit that was filed this month in the U.S. District Court in North Carolina in which he is being charged with money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud, among other things.