Robert Schuller took the stand on Wednesday in his trial against Crystal Cathedral Ministries. Schulller and his wife say the ministry owes them at least $5 million dollars. Here are some details of the proceedings from the Orange County Register:
Throughout his nearly two hours of testimony, Schuller was firm on one idea: he had always allowed the Crystal Cathedral to use his books and other works without receiving royalties but the work was his nonetheless – and not property of the ministry.
“We never had anything in writing. We just had an understanding,” Schuller said – “a gentleman’s understanding.”
As long as the ministry did not sell his materials to competitors, they could use them for the profit of the Crystal Cathedral. One of the most common uses was the church’s give-away of books to donors of the Hour of Power television program. Schuller did not receive royalties for the books, sharing all the profits with the church, he said.
“I allowed the ministry to use it,” Schuller testified. “I did not give ownership to any one.”
Questioned by his own attorney, Carl Grumer, Schuller said the church could use his materials –”always with my approval.”
He repeatedly stated, in response to opposing counsel’s questions, that he did not expect compensation to himself or to his corporation, Robert H. Inc., for the use of his materials.
Schuller also said that his wife, Arvella, who testified on Tuesday and again Wednesday morning, was in charge of the finances.
At times, Schuller appeared to contradict previous sworn statements filed in court documents. For example, a declaration he signed stated the Crystal Cathedral Ministries exploited his intellectual property on the Internet.
But when asked about it on Wednesday, Schuller said he did not know. When asked again by his own attorney if the Crystal Cathedral had permission to sell his material on the Internet, Schuller said: “I need to discuss that with the Lord.”
Schuller had trouble remembering answers to other questions, including statements he had made in a court declaration and a sworn deposition.
For example: does the ministry owe him $55,226 for a housing allowance? asked attorney Todd Ringstad, who represents the creditors owed money following the 2010 bankruptcy of the Crystal Cathedral.
“I didn’t even know they owe me that. I don’t try to remember what people owe me,” Schuller responded.