Multimillionaire Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church Repays $ 4.4 Million in PPP Loans
The mega-church led by Joel Osteen, the famous pastor who preaches humility and drives a Ferrari, has paid off $ 4.4 million in pandemic loans.
Osteen caught criticism last December after it was revealed that his church had taken out loans of the Paycheck Protection Program for COVID-19 Relief for Small Businesses.
Pastor Joel Osteen arrives before a walk in honor of George Floyd on June 2, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Sergio Flores /)
Its Lakewood Church in Houston used the funds to keep 368 employees afloat during the coronavirus lockdown, the institution said in a statement to KPRC-TV in December.
The loans are intended for businesses with fewer than 500 employees, but the coronavirus funds stood out for the number of religious institutions that took advantage of the funds. In Texas alone, more than 1,000 church groups have received federal program money, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported last December.
Osteen himself is worth $ 100 million, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Osteen said he makes his money from speaking engagements and his best-selling books, which have grossed him over $ 55 million a year. He waives the $ 200,000 salary he is entitled to as pastor of Lakewood.
A Lakewood spokesperson provided bank statements showing the loan had been fully repaid, The daily beast reported. PPP loans did not have to be repaid if a company used them to keep all of its employees on full pay and to pay for expenses such as mortgages.