Friday, November 4, 2011

Chapman ups offer for Crystal Cathedral

The Orange County Register

Chapman University has increased its offer to purchase the 40-acre Crystal Cathedral property by $1.5 million, taking the total offer to $51.5 million.

The university also has the blessing of the church's creditors committee, which in court documents filed Monday named Chapman as the preferred buyer.

In addition, the university was selected over the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange by the cathedral's board, despite the diocese's higher offer of $53.6 million. The Chapman offer includes a 15-year leaseback and buyback option that would allow the cathedral to continue its ministry and iconic "Hour of Power" broadcasts, which have a worldwide audience. The diocese's offer would require them to move to a different worship space in three years.

Attorneys for the diocese filed an objection in bankruptcy court Friday, stating that the Chapman proposal is not feasible. They said the cathedral, given its revenues and expenses over the past year, will run out of funds by May 2012 and be unable to make its lease payments to the university.

The creditors committee in its filings, however, said that the diocese's projections are inaccurate and that the Chapman plan will work best both from the perspective of the creditors and the cathedral.

The Chapman plan allows the cathedral to continue its ministry at the "iconic location that is intrinsically linked to the name of 'Hour of Power' and 'Crystal Cathedral,"' the committee's filings state.

Although the diocese's proposal offers an alternative location, such a location "does not possess the unique characteristics that have come to be associated with the (cathedral's) ministry and 'Hour of Power' programming, especially the world-renowned Crystal Cathedral from which the ministry derives its name and identity," the documents state. The filings also point out that the cathedral derives nearly 70 percent of its revenues from the "Hour of Power..."

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