Schullers lose in big-time in court… still get $615,625

From the Orange County Register:

The Rev. Robert H. Schuller, who propelled the Crystal Cathedral into one of the most recognized churches in the world, lost the bulk of his multi-million dollar claims against his former ministry in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Monday.

Judge Robert Kwan in Los Angeles ruled that Schuller, his wife, daughter and son-in-law did not provide evidence to back most of their claims.

“It’s just a travesty after all that they’ve given and all that they’ve done,” said daughter Carol Schuller Milner.

Schuller and his wife, Arvella, filed a number of claims, including a $5 million claim for breach of contract and another for an unspecified amount for copyright infringements. Judge Robert Kwan rejected most of the claims and instead awarded $615,625 to Schuller and nothing to his wife.

“This was a complete victory for the creditors and the church,” said attorney Todd Ringstad, who represents the creditors.

With the ruling, “we have a thousand plus checks to write” to creditors who have been awaiting payment since the cathedral filed for bankruptcy in 2010, said attorney Nanette Sanders.

John Charles, chief executive officer of the Crystal Cathedral, said in an e-mail: “A long and difficult period in the history of the Crystal Cathedral is over.

“The ruling will enable the final creditors to be paid and give us the money we need to move on with our ministry, spreading a message of hope and love to the people of Orange County and, through the ‘Hour of Power,’ to the world,” Charles wrote. “The trial was painful for everyone involved, and our congregation is ready to move on. We love the Schullers and wish them well.”

The elder Schullers, their daughter, Milner, and son-in-law Tim Milner will now be among the unsecured creditors vying for a piece of the approximate $17 million available for disbursement. The creditors are owed approximately $14 million, Sanders said.

Kwan rejected most of the $272,000 in claims submitted by the Milners, and instead allowed $10,615 to Schuller’s daughter for a housing allowance and $67,000 for Tim Milner for two of his claims.

After the creditors are paid, any remaining money will go to the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, which sold its Garden Grove campus to the Catholic Diocese of Orange and is looking to move to another site next summer.

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