Bloomberg News

Crystal Cathedral Gets Bids to Buy Campus in Bankruptcy

July 05, 2011

(Updates with auction proposed in third paragraph.)

July 5 (Bloomberg) -- Crystal Cathedral Ministries, the bankrupt Southern California church built by television evangelist Robert Schuller, received at least two offers to buy its campus, creditors said in court filings.

Chapman University and Greenlaw Acquisitions LLC both offered $46 million to purchase the 30-acre campus in Orange County, California, and lease back part of the property to the church so it can continue operating, the official committee of unsecured creditors said in papers filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana, California.

The church plans to sell the campus in a court-supervised auction with Greenlaw as the initial bidder, said Marc J. Winthrop, Crystal Cathedral’s attorney.

“We are getting interest from a lot of different potential bidders,” Winthrop said today in an interview. A decision on a buyer is “a long way off,” he said.

Creditors prefer Chapman University’s offer and asked the judge overseeing the case to let them pursue a reorganization plan to compete with one Crystal Cathedral proposed based on the Greenlaw bid, according to court documents.

“In light of the clear benefits to the ministry presented by the Chapman University proposal, the committee is simply baffled by the debtor’s position,” creditors said in court papers.

Loan Repayment

Crystal Cathedral has proposed a reorganization that would use cash from the proposed $46 million sale to repay a bank loan of about $33.3 million in full and pay lower-ranking creditors over two years.

The Garden Grove, California-based church, known for its television show “The Hour of Power,” listed assets and debts of $50 million to $100 million each in Chapter 11 documents filed in October. The church estimates its congregation has 10,000 members.

The case is In re Crystal Cathedral Ministries, 10-24771, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana).

--Editors: Charles Carter, Stephen Farr.

To contact the reporter on this story: Steven Church in Wilmington, Delaware, at schurch3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net.


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