Joel Osteen’s megachurch shamed into returning $4.4M in PPP loans

Joel Osteen’s megachurch shamed into returning $4.4M in PPP loans

Celebrity pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church buckled to pressure and will repay $4.4 million in COVID-19 disaster loans meant for small businesses, according to a new report.

In a statement to the Houston Chronicle, Lakewood — whose pastor Osteen is reportedly worth $50 million — defended its decision to seek support from the Paycheck Protection Program and insisted neither Osteen 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.

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The church’s PPP payments came under scrutiny last December. Lakewood

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