-Avier Wanjou Brass-
It looks like the Texas celebrity pastor has to cough up the 4.4 million in COVID-19 disaster loans that was meant for small businesses!
It looks like Joel Osteen and his Lakewood Church are in the spotlight as of recently. Reportedly, his church will have to pay 4.4 million in COVID-19 disaster loans, according to a new report. Reported by the New York Post, Lakewood has defended the decision to seek support from the PayCheck Protection Program, neither Osteen (who is reportedly worth 50 million) nor his wife received any of the money.
Like many organizations temporarily shuttered by the pandemic, this loan provided Lakewood Church short-term financial assistance in 2020, ensuring that its approximately 350 employees and their families would continue to receive a paycheck and full health care benefits,” a church rep told the paper Friday.
When news first broke last December that Lakewood was receiving PPP payments, it faced a lot of scrutiny and reactions. The megachurch, which has 368 full-time and part-time employees, is not the only religious institution in Texas to receive the PPP loan. According to the Houston Chronicle, 60 other religious institutions in Texas and hundreds across the country received COVID-19 relief funding.
Due to the result of shutting down, Lakewood officials said the organization lost a lot of revenue. In a statement, “Lakewood was among tens of thousands of faith-based/religious organizations and secular non-profit corporations, throughout the United States that were eligible and received PPP loans to weather the COVID 19 pandemic.”
We do not know how to feel about this situation. If it was for the employees, then that is a great reason. But if Osteen benefitted from the loans, then it would seem very fishy.