Bishop Lamor Whitehead Talks Lavish Lifestyle and Loan Lawsuit – NBC New York
The Bishop of Brooklyn who said he was robbed during a sermon answers questions for the first time about how he funds his lavish lifestyle, and he addresses a lawsuit he faces involving thousands of dollars he donated by a parishioner.
“Everyone wanted to talk about the bling-bling bishop the media was portraying,” Bishop Lamor Whitehead said.
Police say Whitehead, known for his close friendship with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, was robbed during a July 24 sermon streamed live online. Whitehouse says he and his family were held at gunpoint as three masked men stole at least $400,000 worth of jewelry.
Whitehead was heard lecturing on keeping the faith in the face of severe adversity, moments before the robbers entered the church, which is located above a Haitian restaurant in Canarsie. He is then seen getting on all fours and repeatedly saying “Okay, Alright”, before a man holding a gun and wearing a black sweatshirt walks into frame.
The man, who was also wearing a black mask, is then seen approaching Whitehead, who was hiding behind a golden desk, and stuffing the Bishop’s jewels into his pockets. Another man, dressed in a similar outfit, is then seen walking towards Whitehead, lingering near him for a few minutes and then running away.
Whitehead said in a video posted to Instagram that the thieves ripped off his collar to grab his chain and pointed a gun at his baby girl’s face while stealing his wife’s jewelry. In total, police said the thieves got away with a woman’s wedding band, earrings, Rolex and Cavalier watches, a men’s gold chain and wedding band, a Cuban chain, a cross in diamond and emerald and other church objects.
In a video posted to Instagram in the days after the robbery, Whitehead said he felt a “demonic force” enter the church and was unsure if the gunmen “wanted to shoot the church or s ‘they were just coming for a robbery.’ He said he was grateful no one was hurt and earlier in the week offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the thieves’ arrest .
As for the suspects, police said they had little to blame themselves for. They don’t have a clear description of the men because they were wearing masks. No arrests have yet been made.
New video released by the NYPD on Wednesday shows three black-masked men wanted for allegedly entering a Brooklyn church during a Sunday morning livestream service, showing guns and stealing $1 million worth of jewelry from the pastor and his wife as the former preached on maintaining faith in the face of severe adversity.
It was an unholy heist that made headlines around the world, mostly due to Whitehead’s particularly flashy lifestyle. He can often be seen driving around the Big Apple in his Rolls Royce.
But on Friday, the pastor strongly pushed back against criticism on social media that he had something to do with the theft. The bishop acknowledges that he wears high-end clothes and drives fancy cars, but says he shouldn’t be judged on his looks. He says he has several sources of income and does not receive a church salary.
“I wear what I wear to cheer people up, not to laugh at people. My community work speaks for itself,” he said at a press conference. “My wife has yet to stopped crying, my daughter didn’t stop crying, my limbs didn’t stop crying. No one sympathizes with my church.”
Whitehead also faces potential financial issues related to his failed 2021 campaign for Brooklyn Borough President. Campaign finance council records show two loans, including one from a woman named Josette Bayoro for $150,000 that has not been repaid.
State election law dictates that loans must be repaid before Election Day or they are considered contributions. The loan in this case would far exceed the $1,500 contribution limit for individuals.
Asked about this money which would not have been refunded, Whitehead’s publicist tried to stop the press conference and answer this question. But Whitehead answered the question anyway.
“It’s more of a legal question. What you just said is incorrect, I’ll leave it at that,” he said.
Whitehead’s attorney later told News 4 he had no comment and would have to speak with his client.
Police say more than $1 million worth of jewelry was stolen as Bishop Lamar Whitehead delivered his sermon at a Brooklyn church, leading some to criticize the pastor and his wife for wearing clothes so flashy and extravagant.
Whitehead also responded to a lawsuit filed by a parishioner in September 2021, in which a woman alleges the pastor convinced her to give away almost all of her life savings, promising he would help her buy a house despite her bad credit history. According to the lawsuit obtained by NBC New York, the woman wrote a check for $90,000 to Whitehead in November 2020.
After months, the complaint alleges that Whitehead told the woman that he viewed her investment as a donation to his failed campaign for Brooklyn borough president, and that he was under no obligation to repay it.
Asked about the lawsuit on Friday, Whitehead only called it “a sham claim against me, so we got a win today.”
Friday. a judge denied the woman’s motion for “default judgment” for Whitehead’s failure to respond to the complaint, finding there was no proof of service. Whitehead’s attorney said his client does not believe he received it, but he would oppose these actions on all merits and was confident they would prevail.