Rolling Out: Bishop Eddie L. Long is in the news once again after it was revealed that he’s being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service for being linked to a “questionable mortgage venture” that caused many church members to lose their homes.
Long is already on the media’s radar as he seeks to come to a financial settlement with the four young men who accused him of using his religious authority to lure them into unwanted sexual activities. The settlement talks automatically erase the specter of complete innocence in the minds of some observers, though Bishop Long maintains a large support base that would claim the contrary.
The feds accuse the pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta of facilitating a corrupt mortgage scheme within his church. Matrix Capitol Mortgage Company and its front man, Fred Lee, held mortgage payment seminars at New Birth, promising to lower homeowners’ notes. That did not happen. Instead, many of them lost their homes to foreclosure. A large percentage of those former homeowners also happened to be members of Long’s church.
CBS Atlanta reports that “people trusted Lee because he made the promises of lowering their mortgages in the sanctity of their own church.” Every Wednesday night, Lee would come to New Birth and collect money for the mortgages after he convinced people to pay him instead of their mortgage companies.
Lee didn’t necessarily host the seminars at the church personally; someone else from Matrix Capitol Mortgage Company would, the media reports.
In other news, Long’s battles continue to mount. Accusers now claim that his sexual activities with young males could lead to a national investigation, as a new alleged incident reportedly occurred in Connecticut. Long took one of his accusers to Connecticut for a conference, reports state. The accuser says Long had sexual relations with him at age 16 (perhaps coincidentally or not, the legal consent age in that state is 16).
Connecticut’s Hartford Courant also reports that the First Cathedral Church in Bloomfield had anticipated Long’s visit as guest speaker in September, but the appearance was cancelled after the scandal flooded the airwaves.