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Diocese of Orange challenges sale of Crystal Cathedral to Chapman

October 31, 2011 |  1:32 pm

Crystal Cathedral Oct 27 2011

Diocese of Orange objects to Crystal Cathedral sale

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange is attempting to block the proposed sale of the Crystal Cathedral campus to Chapman University for $50 million.

In documents filed Friday, the diocese said Chapman’s plan is not “feasible” because it won’t repay creditors in full.

The documents also questioned whether the Crystal Cathedral could afford monthly rent of $150,000 to $215,000 it would face for several buildings.

Last week the board of the cathedral endorsed Chapman University’s plan, which would allow the church to lease and eventually buy back its core buildings.

The diocese offered to purchase the Garden Grove campus for $53.6 million, with $3.6 million to be used as a rent reserve fund.

After three years, the Crystal Cathedral ministry would have to find a new home, with the assistance of the diocese. In the documents, the diocese said that instead of alleviating the cathedral’s financial burdens, the Chapman offer would increase them.

The diocese's statement said that if the Chapman plan was implemented, the church could deplete its general accounts by May 2012.

“If the Chapman offer is accepted and the plan is confirmed, the debtor is setting itself up for failure,” according to the documents.

The Crystal Cathedral filed for bankruptcy last year, citing more than $50 million in debt.

A hearing to confirm an exit plan is scheduled Nov. 14.


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Photo: Crystal Cathedral. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press