A Houston megachurch led by superstar pastor Joel Osteen will return all $4.4 million it obtained in a forgivable mortgage from the federal authorities final yr via its Paycheck Safety Program, in response to the Houston Chronicle, after Osteen and his church obtained widespread criticism from those that felt the mortgage was pointless.
Osteen’s Lakewood Church obtained the funding in late July of 2020 after going months with out the “capacity to gather substantial donations,” church spokesman Donald Iloff informed the Houston Business Journal.
The cash went towards paying the church’s 368 workers, with none reportedly going to Osteen, however the church and its lead pastor have been nonetheless slammed for taking the mortgage.
Lakewood is the largest megachurch within the U.S., with a mean weekly attendance of 43,500 worshippers, in response to a database from the Hartford Institute for Faith Analysis.
Lakewood began resuming in-person companies by mid-October of 2020 after shutting down in March.
“Like many organizations quickly shuttered by the pandemic, this mortgage offered Lakewood Church short-term monetary help in 2020 making certain that its roughly 350 workers and their households would proceed to obtain a paycheck and full well being care advantages,” the church mentioned in an announcement to the Houston Chronicle.
The loans have been designed to assist companies preserve present employees via the pandemic, however a number of giant companies opted to return the loans after many blasted them as pointless. Among the many corporations returning loans have been Shake Shake, which gave again $10 million, the Los Angeles Lakers, which returned $4.6 million, and Ruth’s Hospitality Group, which gave again its $20 million mortgage. Many have been upset with Lakewood’s mortgage given Osteen’s lavish way of life, which includes driving a Ferrari sportscar and residing in a mansion reportedly valued at $10.5 million.
Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church repaying $4.4M in COVID funds, 10 months after backlash over PPP loans (Houston Chronicle)
Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church took $4.4M PPP loan (Houston Enterprise Journal)
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