The embattled Crystal Cathedral church in Garden Grove filed for bankruptcy…
Crystal Cathedral bankruptcy filings made Monday appear to indicate that the church is actively interested in offers beyond one made by an Orange County real estate development group two months ago.
In those filings, the church requested partial withdrawal from a plan that would make Greenlaw Partners the primary bidder for the property, entitling the group to a fee if outbid.
In an exit plan filed by the church in May, Greenlaw would purchase the Crystal Cathedral property for $46 million, lease the church and other buildings back to the ministry and construct apartments on other parts of the campus.
The embattled church filed for bankruptcy in October, citing more than $50 million in debt.
So far, two other potential buyers have expressed interest in the property. A separate plan, filed by the church's unsecured creditors, would allow Chapman University to purchase the 40-acre campus for $46 million and lease back core buildings for a lower price than Greenlaw. The school would use the space for a health sciences campus.
Lawyers for both the church and creditors had no comment.
In Monday's filings, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange expressed official interest, stating what it said last week: that it hopes the property remains a place of worship. The diocese does not have a central cathedral for the more than 1.2 million Catholics in Orange County.
As the case moves forward, conflicts have surfaced between the church and the creditors committee on the best plan for the Crystal Cathedral. The Greenlaw plan pays creditors back over a period of two years, while the Chapman plan pays creditors when the sale is complete.
In a document dated late last week, the church argued that the Chapman plan is a "thinly disguised attempt" to liquidate the church's assets.
Other recent filings address other objections to the church's summary of its exit strategy, including ones by the U.S. Trustee; a family who paid $250,000 for a group plot in the church's cemetery; and attorneys for church founder Robert H. Schuller and other relatives.
A hearing on sales procedures for the church will be held Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana. A separate hearing regarding the church's reorganization plan is scheduled for Wednesday.