Brooklyn bishop robbed of $1M in jewelry defends reputation amid series of controversies

Gerard Ortiz

The Brooklyn pastor who was robbed at gunpoint final Sunday staunchly defended himself and denounced the media protection he’s acquired amid a collection of week-lengthy controversies.

At a push convention on Friday intended to tackle stability at areas of worship, Bishop Lamor Whitehead railed from the media for focusing on his earlier and lavish lifestyle as a substitute of the robbery that took area at this church.

“Fendi, Louie, Gucci, why can not we dress in that in the church?” he explained, referencing pricey designer dresses. “I put on what I wear to persuade individuals not to laugh at folks. My neighborhood work speaks for by itself. I am the most important pastor in New York Town.”

The information conference caps a week of controversies for Whitehead, who was robbed at gunpoint although delivering a sermon at the Leaders of Tomorrow Intercontinental Church buildings in Canarsie. The NYPD says intruders took off with in excess of $1 million in jewellery, a worth Whitehead disputed on Friday.

Just two days soon after the theft, Whitehead confronted blowback for fats-shaming and homophobic remarks he designed on an Instagram Are living channel. He afterwards apologized.

Whitehead has also faced renewed criticisms on social media for flaunting his high-priced jewelry, clothing and autos. When it was reported that the price of the items stolen on Sunday was in excess of $1 million in accordance to the NYPD, numerous questioned if it was acceptable for a pastor to have and wear this sort of high priced products.

At a press meeting on Friday, Whitehead denied the figures and accused reporters of fabricating them, even with owning formerly stated he experienced been robbed of “hundreds of thousands of dollars” worthy of of jewelry in Instagram posts.

“Everybody is environment the narrative that all of this, there was a million dollars, it was $400,000, all that garbage, no person can quote that I explained any of that,” he mentioned. “But to provide newspapers and to offer media, y’all set whatsoever quantity you want on its deal with and I really don’t get the option to defend myself.”

The NYPD offered Gothamist with an itemized list of the merchandise stolen as documented to them by Whitehead which includes a $390,000 Cuban url chain, a $125,000 wedding ring and a $75,000 Cavalier check out. The overall worth of the objects was estimated at $1,080,000, law enforcement stated. Other products integrated $25,000 earrings, a $75,000 Rolex, a $20,000 Episcopal cross, a $15,000 gold chain, $50,000 marriage ceremony ring, a $25,000 Episcopal ring, a $10,000 gold chain, a $200,000 gold chain, a $20,000 emerald cross, and a $50,000 Episcopal ring.

But his finances have been the matter of public notice outside of his lavish flavor. A 2021 lawsuit submitted towards him by a parishioner saying he stole her daily life financial savings arrived to gentle this 7 days when it was reported on by The City.

The go well with alleges that Whitehead certain 56-year-outdated Pauline Anderson to invest $90,000 in a single of his firms, promising to use the funds to obtain her a home. Anderson statements she wrote Whitehead a cashier’s examine in November 2020 beneath the agreement he would give her with $100 a thirty day period to are living off of right until the household he purchased for her was move-in completely ready. She in no way been given a receipt or deal, according to the complaint.

Whitehead never ever despatched her the monthly allowances, and finally stated he was less than no obligation to return it to her, the lawsuit alleges. Rather, according to the criticism, he utilised the funds as a down payment for a $4.4 million mansion in Saddle River, New Jersey.

“Ms. Anderson was instead remaining with nothing at all but a vague assure by Mr. Whitehead to fork out the money again in the foreseeable future followed by an assertion that he had no further obligation to do so,” the match claimed.

On Wednesday, a judge denied a movement by Anderson to receive a default judgment. Her lawsuit remains ongoing. An lawyer for Anderson did not return requests for comment. 

At the push conference Friday, Whitehead termed the claims in the go well with phony, and the denial a victory, but would not elaborate even more.

“I are not able to get into the legality of this fictitious declare versus me,” he explained. “We obtained a victory nowadays. So every person which is been publishing about Bishop, I want you to comprehend that you might be viewing a real male of God.”

Accusations of Whitehead’s alleged malfeasance with other people’s money increase beyond the lawsuit from him. In 2016, the New York Post documented that he however owed Monterey Symphony conductor Maximo Bragado-Darman $260,000 for an superb courtroom judgment more than an unpaid particular financial loan. He’s also served time in the past for convictions for identification fraud and grand larceny.

At the push conference on Friday, Whitehead also called on the mayor, governor and other legislators to enact a legislation that would let clergy associates to have guns, citing what he explained was a protection unexpected emergency amongst properties of worship.

“If the academics can have it, we ought to be ready to have it. No matter if we have a report it really should be exempt, mainly because we have improved our life,” he claimed. “And you say nicely, why do you have to have pistols and why did–why are not able to you all have safety? Effectively, some churches are also compact to manage armed stability. So we should really be equipped to bear arms like the constitution said.”

Mayor Eric Adams, who is a supporter of Whitehead, has very long insisted clergy customers be shielded but only by educated stability personnel in places of worship. New York Town calls for history checks for anyone seeking to obtain a legal firearm.

On Friday the mayor explained he would continue on to be a mentor to Whitehead.

“I have always maintained interactions with persons who have long gone by traumatic activities and my target is to mentor individuals who go by crises,” he explained. “Lamor and any other individual that I aid, I continue on to attempt to mentor. As a Black gentleman, I have an obligation to mentor other Black gentlemen that had unfavorable encounters in their lives and other folks in standard. And that is what I will go on to do.”

Correction: A previous version of this article misinterpreted the standing of the situation. Pauline Anderson’s lawsuit in opposition to Bishop Lamor Whitehead is ongoing, in accordance to courtroom data. The day the judge denied a movement for a default judgement was also formerly incorrect. The ruling happened Wednesday, according to court docket records.

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