I hope the deal gets made.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange said Friday it has made a $50-million offer to buy the bankrupt Crystal Cathedral.I was discussing this scenario the other day with a priest friend who suggested that the Schullers would be reluctant to take any offer from the Diocese because it would man their House of God falling into the hands of mackeral-snapping Cat'lics.
Maybe . . . but we are talking about la familia Schuller, who always kept a closer eye, I suspect, on the coffers than the glory. Certainly, the bankruptcy has been intersting - I would still like to know how Gretchen Schuller Penner bought a foreclosure in Floral Park for $949,000 (realtors talk, sweetie) with a large down payment when it seems she and her husband were earning annual salaries of less than $200,000 from the Crystal Cathedral (leading wags in the old nabe to call the house the "Crystal Meth Palace" because of its past criminal history).
Orange Bishop Tod Brown has said the diocese needs a worship space for the more than 1.2 million parishioners in the area and the 3,000-seat cathedral is a less expensive alternative to building a new cathedral. The diocese has considered a project in Santa Ana that would cost at least $100 million.And what His Grace does not say is that there is a teeny problem with the new cathedral . . . no one wants to fork over the money for it. Tod Brown has a personality problem - he hasn't any personality - and the Big Money Catholics in Orange County do not want to help him build a cathedral, that he wants to do before he retires. And in November of this year, he turns 75 and has to tender his resignation.
So what happened to My Father's House, the church in Norco? They too offered $50 million. Or, at least, that's what they said. I am thinking that they were using it more for publicity and leverage to dupe their followers into more "King's seed offerings", because if it were a serious offer, the Diocese likely would have seen that bid and raised in this card game.
And it's a sweetheart deal for Schuller:
Alan H. Martin, a bankruptcy attorney representing the diocese, said the diocese will pay $50 million in cash within 30 days of the bankruptcy court's approval of the reorganization plan. But first, the plan has to be approved by the Crystal Cathedral Ministries Board and the Creditors Committee.
The offer from the diocese calls for an immediate deposit of $250,000 and a secondary payment of $750,000. Martin said the diocese is willing to help Crystal Cathedral Ministries phase out its operations by offering a three-year leaseback plan for some of the buildings on campus including the four-story Family Life Center on Chapman Avenue.
Say yes and the money comes in 30 days . . . all of it. When I would negotiate settlement deals for clients going through divorces, cash talked. If your spouse was willing to buy you out of a family house, which would you take: 50% of net profit after the house is sold - meaning no money until it is sold - or perhaps less than 50% for cash now? Uh-huh, I thought so.
Hey, hey - ain't no shame in buying a used cathedral. In fact, I can see the Diocese spinning the "green" aspects of the deal - reuse, recycle. And . . . Tod gets his cathedral, and the Diocese gets a landmark.
I wonder what the gift shop will be like?