Published: Aug. 5, 2011 Updated: 7:01 p.m.
Oklahoma retailer makes $47.5 million cash offer to buy Crystal Cathedral
By DEEPA BHARATH / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
GARDEN GROVE – Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which recently donated the 170-
This offer from the Oklahoma-
According to a statement issued by Hobby Lobby, its cash offer will pay off all creditors as soon as a sale is completed. So far, Crystal Cathedral has $46 million offers from Greenlaw Partners LLC. and Chapman University and $50 million offers from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and My Father's House International Church in Norco.
Mart Green, son of Hobby Lobby CEO, David Green, said in a statement that they intend to buy the 40-
Green said the Hobby Lobby offer has the blessing of the Schullers.
"Before we submitted a formal proposal, we sought and received the blessing of the Schuller family in regard to purchasing the Crystal Cathedral property," he said. "Our family has extensive experience assisting ministries whose mission is to spread good across the nation and the world.
Hobby Lobby operates 485 arts and crafts stores nationwide. The company on its website says its operation is based on Christian and biblical values.
Green said Hobby Lobby will "only proceed in partnerships when we have the blessing of all parties involved."
King's University, a Bible college and seminary, is led by Chancellor Jack Hayford, founder of The Church On The Way in Van Nuys.
Hayford could not be reached for comment Friday.
Green said the property is a good match for King's University.
"For years, Crystal Cathedral Ministries helped people grow in a loving relationship with Jesus Christ," he said. "...King's University's mission is consistent with the biblical principles on which we run our company."
The Crystal Cathedral, which has been struggling financially for the last four years, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Oct. 18. The year leading up to the bankruptcy was also when the church, looking at more than $55 million in debt, sold off two properties in San Juan Capistrano and Big Bear. The Rancho Capistrano property was sold in May for $22.5 million, according to the founder's son-
The Rancho Capistrano property had been part of the Crystal Cathedral for nearly three decades. The land was donated to the Garden Grove mega church by Orange County philanthropists John and Donna Crean in 1981.
According to Johnnie and Andy Crean, sons of John Crean, it was their father's wish to have a retreat for recovering alcoholics at the ranch. Andy Crean said his family is disappointed that the land cannot be used for the retreat any more. It will now be used by Saddleback to train missionaries and pastors, according to church officials.
Since Crystal Cathedral administrators withdrew their bankruptcy reorganization plan, the creditors committee is expected to file its plan next week. A court hearing on that plan has been set for Sept. 14.
Contact the writer: 714-