Money Matters - Simplified

Crystal Cathedral sells for $46mn, evades bankruptcy

Under the reorganization plan filed late Friday, Crystal Cathedral Ministries will sell the sprawling 40-acre campus to the real estate investment group on a buy back terms.

The Crystal Cathedral, the gleaming iconic glass-walled church in Southern California, is selling its property to rescue itself from bankruptcy and pay back its creditors.

According to Church officials, Greenlaw Partners of Newport Beach is paying $46 million for the cathedral and its surrounding property which will allow the church to pay off most of its debts.

In a statement, Sheila Schuller Coleman the church’s senior pastor declared, "We are pleased that we are able to honor the debt that we have incurred and to honor the creditors who are due their payment.

"We are thankful to the vendors for their patience and we are so sorry for any pain that they have incurred.

"To pay them back 100 percent has always been a top priority and we are grateful to God for providing the resources to be able to do just that."

"The purpose of this plan is to generate funds to repay creditors without affecting the ability of the ministry to operate.”-- Marc Winthrop, attorney representing the cathedral in bankruptcy court

The reorganization plan
Under the reorganization plan filed late Friday, Crystal Cathedral Ministries will sell the sprawling 40-acre campus to the real estate investment group on a buy back terms.

The deal will help erase the chruch's $36 million mortgage and also wipe out a major chunk of the $10 million in unsecured debt including the amount it owes its 550 vendors who helped with the Christmas and Easter services of the Church.

The church has the open option of leasing the campus for 15 years. Additionally, they can buy back the main portions, including the 10,000-pane cathedral, the 13-story Tower of Hope, the welcome center and the cemetery at a fixed price after 4 years.

However, lease for the four-story Family Life Center which holds administrative offices and a private secondary school would run for only two years after which Greenlaw will be at the liberty to terminate it if they find new tenants.

According to the Church administrators, the cathedral will continue its local worship services, community outreach programs and its popular weekly televangelist series 'Hour of Power.'

Marc Winthrop, attorney representing the cathedral in bankruptcy court, stated, "The purpose of this plan is to generate funds to repay creditors without affecting the ability of the ministry to operate.”

Financial troubles and unsettled leadership
The Southern California church has been fraught with problems ever since its founder the Rev. Robert H. Schuller stepped down in 2006.

Caught between family feud over leadership, dwindling donations and botched finances, the church sold many of its assets over the last year.

It cut around 150 of its staff members and slashed air time by 50 percent while tts congregation was reduced to less than 5,000.