Creditors Sue Crystal Cathedral's Founding Family

Family scored big salaries despite church's financial woes: suit
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2011 9:15 AM CDT
Creditors Sue Crystal Cathedral's Founding Family
Robert H. Schuller leads a prayer on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.   (AP Photo/Orange County Register, Ana Venegas)

(Newser) – The Crystal Cathedral creditors' committee is suing the church's founding family for allegedly borrowing endowment money and raking in healthy salaries—all while the church was in dire financial straits. The lawsuit says that family members of founder Robert H. Schuller borrowed some $10 million from an endowment fund between 2002 and 2009; it says the family used "control and influence" to win deals for the church that hurt creditors but boosted the family. The suit names several such deals: Among them, a transition agreement that gives Schuller health insurance and a travel staff for life, along with a $300,000-a-year discretionary fund.

A rift between creditors and church insiders led to the suit, the Los Angeles Times reports: Once the church's campus is sold, its bankruptcy plan says creditors will be paid first, with the family and other insiders left until last. The family, however, wants its money when the creditors get theirs, and the suit aims to ensure that the Schullers are the last paid in a bankruptcy settlement. But "we think that the allegations of the complaint will ultimately be proven to be untrue," said a lawyer for Schuller. Click for more on Crystal Cathedral's woes. (Read more Crystal Cathedral Ministries stories.)

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