Bishop Eddie Long settles property lawsuit over $2 million loan

Bishop Eddie Long has reached a settlement in a lawsuit that claims he and partners in a real estate venture defaulted on a $2 million bank loan.

The settlement, reached earlier this month, is the latest in a string of costly legal  setbacks for the embattled senior pastor of Lithonia's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Earlier this year Long reached an undisclosed financial settlement with five young men who accused the bishop of sexual coercion.

In the latest case, Long and two partners in West Indies Holding Co. LLC, a venture took out a $2 million loan from a Macon bank for a Jonesboro commercial property that includes Omni Hoops & Fitness gymnasium. The bank later failed.

State Bank & Trust, which acquired the failed bank, filed suit in October 2010 in State Court of DeKalb County to recover the remaining balance of $1.9 million, plus interest and fees.

The settlement reached this month calls for West Indies and Long to repay the remaining balance, plus more than $100,000 in interest, as much as $102,690.26 in property taxes and nearly $300,000 in attorney’s fees by January 2015.

The settlement includes an installment plan as well as incentives for early repayment that could cut what Long and West Indies owe.

The bishop and West Indies would continue to maintain the property, pay taxes and collect rents from tenants, according to terms of the settlement.

Long would not comment to reporters Thursday outside a Midtown Atlanta law firm where he was scheduled to appear for a deposition in an unrelated sexual harassment and discrimination case filed last year by a former church employee against New Birth.

Long, who is not a defendant in that case, drove off in a black Bentley when approached by reporters.

Long and his West Indies partners also were embroiled in a 2008 lawsuit over the Jonesboro property with its former owner, Danny Wright and J.D. Rock Enterprises. Wright claimed in a court filing last week that Long defaulted on a previous settlement.

West Indies and Long’s attorney, Reginald Winfrey, declined comment about the settlement with State Bank. When asked about the alleged settlement default with Wright, Winfrey told Channel 2 Action News, "We’re looking to resolve all of those matters in the courtroom.”

--Staff writer Christian Boone contributed to this article.