Crystal Cathedral Bankruptcy

The U.S. trust­ee and cred­it­ors in bank­ruptcy pro­ceed­ings ques­tioned spend­ing at the Garden Grove-based megach­urch Crys­tal Cathed­ral, after church of­fi­cials filed for Chapter 11 bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion in Oc­to­ber 2010.

The doc­u­ments, filed in U.S. Bank­ruptcy Court in Santa Ana, give a first look in­to the long-ques­tioned fin­an­cial prac­tices of the church, which em­ploys more than a dozen fam­ily mem­bers and in-laws of founder Robert H. Schuller. Church of­fi­cials have cited the bad eco­nomy and a 24% drop in dona­tions in 2009 for its fin­an­cial prob­lems. More than 550 cred­it­ors are owed between $50 mil­lion and $100 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the ini­tial fil­ing.

The early ob­jec­tions from the fed­er­al trust­ee and cred­it­ors com­mit­tee in­clude ques­tion­able hous­ing al­low­ances for church in­siders and what ap­pear to be re­dund­ant jobs and re­spons­ib­il­it­ies.

— Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz

Aug. 9, 2011  By Nicole Santa Cruz
The Crys­tal Cathed­ral’s cred­it­ors com­mit­tee filed a state­ment that out­lines a po­ten­tial exit plan for the bank­rupt church. The cathed­ral board can choose the buy­er in one op­tion and in an­oth­er, the cred­it­ors will choose a buy­er for the church.
July 30, 2011  By Nicole Santa Cruz
A Norco-based church has filed pa­pers in fed­er­al bank­ruptcy court say­ing it will pay $50 mil­lion in cash for the fin­an­cially troubled Crys­tal Cathed­ral in Garden Grove on the con­di­tion that fam­ily mem­bers of cathed­ral founder Robert H. Schuller and staff mem­bers resign from the or­gan­iz­a­tion’s board of dir­ect­ors.
Dec. 2, 2010  By Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz
Crys­tal Cathed­ral filed a 160-page state­ment, which de­tails its fin­an­cial af­fairs in the year lead­ing up to its bank­ruptcy fil­ing. The doc­u­ment in­cludes payroll in­form­a­tion, land sales and pay­ments to fam­ily mem­bers and in­siders.
Dec. 2, 2010  By Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz
The doc­u­ment gives a snap­shot of the church’s as­sets and debts, in­clud­ing a list­ing of all prop­erty it owns.
Nov. 23, 2010  By Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz
Garden Grove-based mega-church Crys­tal Cathed­ral filed a vol­un­tary pe­ti­tion for Chapter 11 bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion on Oct. 18. The church es­tim­ated its debts at $50 to $100 mil­lion.
Nov. 23, 2010  By Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz
The com­mit­tee rep­res­ent­ing Crys­tal Cathed­ral’s cred­it­ors ob­jec­ted to the church’s re­quest to pay Wil­li­am Gault­iere, part-time Pas­tor of Spir­itu­al Form­a­tion Min­is­tries and son-in-law of Chief Fin­an­cial Of­ficer Fred Southard, an an­nu­al total of $61,955.92, in­clud­ing a $59,202 tax-ex­empt hous­ing al­low­ance. The com­mit­tee sug­ges­ted the role could be filled by vo­lun­teers.
Nov. 23, 2010  By Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz
The cred­it­ors and U.S. trust­ee both ob­jec­ted to the church’s pro­pos­al to pay pro­gram­ming dir­ect­or Gretchen Pen­ner (the daugh­ter of found­ing pas­tor Rbert H. Schuller) $69,525 and her moth­er-in-law and pro­gram­ming man­ager Neva Pen­ner Klaassen $55,100. The ob­jec­tions de­scribed the wo­men’s du­ties as du­plic­at­ive.
Nov. 23, 2010  By Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz
Crys­tal Cathed­ral’s re­quests for in­sider com­pens­a­tion for pro­gram­ming dir­ect­or Gretchen Pen­ner and pro­gram­ming man­ager Neva Pen­ner Klaassen—in­cluded as ex­hib­its with the U.S. trust­ee’s ob­jec­tions—lays out her com­pens­a­tion pack­age, back­ground and job de­scrip­tion.
Nov. 23, 2010  By Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz
The cred­it­ors and U.S. trust­ee both ob­jec­ted to the church’s pro­pos­al to pay pro­gram­ming dir­ect­or Gretchen Pen­ner (the daugh­ter of found­ing pas­tor Rbert H. Schuller) $69,525 and her moth­er-in-law and pro­gram­ming man­ager Neva Pen­ner Klaassen $55,100. The ob­jec­tions de­scribed the wo­men’s du­ties as du­plic­at­ive.
Nov. 23, 2010  By Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz
The U.S. trust­ee and cred­it­ors in bank­ruptcy pro­ceed­ings have ques­tioned spend­ing at the Garden Grove-based megach­urch Crys­tal Cathed­ral, which filed for Chapter 11 bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion in Oc­to­ber.
Nov. 23, 2010  By Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz
Crys­tal Cathed­ral’s re­quests for in­sider com­pens­a­tion for pro­gram­ming dir­ect­or Gretchen Pen­ner and pro­gram­ming man­ager Neva Pen­ner Klaassen—in­cluded as ex­hib­its with the U.S. trust­ee’s ob­jec­tions—lays out her com­pens­a­tion pack­age, back­ground and job de­scrip­tion.
Nov. 23, 2010  By Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz
The cred­it­ors and U.S. trust­ee both ob­jec­ted to the church’s pro­pos­al to pay pro­gram­ming dir­ect­or Gretchen Pen­ner (the daugh­ter of found­ing pas­tor Rbert H. Schuller) $69,525 and her moth­er-in-law and pro­gram­ming man­ager Neva Pen­ner Klaassen $55,100. The ob­jec­tions de­scribed the wo­men’s du­ties as du­plic­at­ive.
Nov. 23, 2010  By Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz
Crys­tal Cathed­ral’s cred­it­ors ob­jec­ted to the pro­posed com­pens­a­tion pack­age for Chief Fin­an­cial Of­ficer Fred Southard, which in­cludes a $140,000 tax-ex­empt hous­ing al­low­ance. The cred­it­ors called Southard a “fig­ure­head.”
Nov. 23, 2010  By Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz
The U.S. trust­ee also ob­jec­ted to CFO Fred Southard’s com­pens­a­tion and par­tic­u­larly to the gen­er­ous hous­ing al­low­ance. The trust­ee’s ob­jec­tion in­cludes a copy of the ori­gin­al re­quest for in­sider com­pens­a­tion filed by the church on Southard’s be­half.
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