A controversial celebrity pastor worth an estimated $50 million has returned $4.4 million in federal COVID relief loans his megachurch received from the government.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church has repaid the money after the stadium-sized facility was widely-condemned for accepting the cash last year.
A spokesman claimed they needed the loan because the church, which is America’s largest, and can hold 16,800 worshippers at one time, was unable to take weekly collections during COVID closures which it says helps pay its 368 staff.
But that sparked an outcry as details of Osteen’s extreme wealth were once again shared.
His most recent address is listed as a six-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion in Houston’s River Oaks neighborhood worth an estimated $15 million.
Small businesses could apply for PPP loans with their banks under the federal government’s CARES Act stimulus package as an incentive to keep their workers on the payroll amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Source: Daily Mail