Insider Trading at the Crystal Cathedral

An interesting story in yesterday’s Orange County Register that I admit I don’t fully understand.

Seems that some tried to block the sale of the CC to the Catholic Diocease because of a 1987 lease that agreed to give the building and property to Robert Schuller Ministries in return for a 99 year lease.

But nobody could prove that the lease actually existed.

Schuller daughter Sheila Schuller Coleman testified on Monday that the congregation had paid the 99-year leas in full on Monday morning… all 99 years worth.  Grand total:  $99.

But no one could produce the documents, so the judge said the sale goes through.

Here’s where it gets even more weird.  Jim Penner was a member of both the Robert Schuller Ministries (now Crystal Cathedral Ministries) board AND the Crystal Cathedral church board.  Penner, by the way, is a son-in-law of the elder Schullers.  Penner was asked if this lease was in effect why he didn’t encourage the congregation to bid on the cathedral.

Here’s the newspaper report of that part of it:

Penner said both boards operated in secret, comparing his role to someone sitting on the boards of rival oil giants ExxonMobil and Texaco. If he had told the congregation what he knew from the ministry board, it would be like insider trading, he said.

But the bankruptcy plans to sell the cathedral were public knowledge, creditor attorney Todd Ringstad said. Wasn’t it part of your duty as a board member to share knowledge with the congregation?, he asked Penner.

Penner replied, “I think I did my job as a Crystal Cathedral Consistory member poorly.”


PROBLEM #1:  Having your son-in law on either board

PROBLEM #2:  Having 2 separate boards, each with your son-in-law on it

PROBLEM #3:  Each board operating in secret from the other, and having your son-in-law on each

PROBLEM #4:  Having said son-in-law saying after the fact that it wasn’t a good thing

PROBLEM #5:  Saying you have a lease and paying the lease for 99 years the day of a court proceeding without being able to produce an actual lease document.

So… If I get this right… they are (were) trying to say that the church had a lease until 2086 and they can’t be kicked out; and putting all the responsibility on the CC/RS ministry?

Let’s all say together:  throw daddy under the bus.

The right thing to do at this point is to allow the sale, and pay all the creditors.

Truth is… there’s no money left, from what it appears, in any accounts.  And the son-in-law should have seen that from BOTH sides.

You can read more here…


  • Matt Steen January 31, 2012 Reply


    This makes my head hurt.

  • adam mclane January 31, 2012 Reply

    Wait… you seem to imply that anything about this “church” should make sense. The whole thing NEVER made sense.

  • Peter February 1, 2012 Reply


    …to worse…

  • Karl February 2, 2012 Reply

    There are even more issues with regard to the transfer of the real estate (authority to do so and another son-in-law on boards of Garden Grove Community Church as grantor and Crystal Cathedral Ministries as grantee) …

    More a mockery of a legal system than anything is the Court permitting ‘the board’ of CCM, chaired by Robert H. Schuller, to choose the ‘winning’ bidder. RHS and Penner had a insider claims and contract with CCM. You *cannot* be ‘on the board’ of a 501(c)3 and vote on matters that ultimately inure to your personal benefit!

    Lastly, Bishop Tod D. Brown has been fully informed, that proceeding with this purchase should be considered with *the fact* that over 100 persons now believe that a serious financial crime may have taken place, with regard to $10-million taken in loans by “CCM” from an endowment fund.

    A petition to Benedict XVI as well as a call for investigation of CCM by the IRS is online at the above listed website.

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