5 Ways the Catholic Diocese or Chapman University Can Sweeten Their Offers to Buy Crystal Cathedral

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A bankruptcy judge has said he'll make a decision Thursday on who the winning bidder is for Crystal Cathedral, Orange County's original Protestant megachurch that was completed in Garden Grove in 1980 and is now $46 million in debt.

Bidding seems to have come down to two other Orange County institutions: the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, which represents 1.3 million church followers, and Chapman University of Orange, which represents 6,300 students who did not have the grades to get into a UC.

After Crystal Cathedral's board revealed it did not want to sell--but would entertain offers in the $50 million range while the ministry the Rev. Robert H. Schuller started tries to come up with enough scratch of its own to buy back the 40-acre complex--Chapman opened up bidding earlier this year at $47 million.

The Diocese countered with $50 million. The university came back with $50 million and an offer to allow Crystal Cathedral to lease space with a buyback option. The Diocese upped its bid to $53.6 million and an offer to let the Protestant ministry remain there for three years. Chapman came back with $51.5 million and an offer to let the ministry lease Crystal Cathedral, the bell tower and the cemetery for $1 a month--for 15 years. The Diocese has upped the ante twice more, to $55.4 million and now $57.5 million, with an offer to allow the ministry to take over a nearby Catholic church. It's surprising no one included a new pony.

As we await a final decision from the judge, here are 5 things the Schullers could also be offered (besides a new pony) to seal a deal:

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All the grapes in first class.

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Bishop of Orange Tod D. Brown could throw in his personal chef, who really was plucked from the shi-shi Five Crowns in Corona del Mar.


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