Rev. Robert Schuller seeks $5 million from Crystal Cathedral Ministries

This Aug. 13, 1997 file photo shows the Rev. Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral, and his wife, Arvella at Los Angeles International Airport. Rev. Schuller is in bankruptcy court seeking $5 million from Crystal Cathedral Ministries.
This Aug. 13, 1997 file photo shows the Rev. Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral, and his wife, Arvella at Los Angeles International Airport. Rev. Schuller is in bankruptcy court seeking $5 million from Crystal Cathedral Ministries. John Hayes/AP

The aging founder of the Crystal Cathedral is in bankruptcy court seeking more than $5 million from the ministry he built from scratch.

The Rev. Robert H. Schuller was in Los Angeles Thursday for the start of a 10-day trial over claims he and his family have made against the ministry he founded in 1955 in Orange County.

The intellectual property, copyright and contract violation claims stem from the Crystal Cathedral's 2010 bankruptcy filing.

The church owes creditors $12.5 million but Schuller's claims have delayed those payments.

Crystal Cathedral Ministries chief executive John Charles said they could also jeopardize the future of the church.

The Roman Catholic church bought the ministry's Garden Grove glass-paned cathedral in 2011 for $57 million, but the congregation will move to a new location by next year.

In March, Schuller and his wife Arvella announced "with great sadness"  that they resigned from the board of directors of the Crystal Cathedral, the televangelist ministry he founded four decades ago and made famous through his "Hour of Power" television program.

At that time, the Schullers' daughter, Carol Schuller Milner, said her parents were stepping down because they and the board couldn't reach a deal for housing benefits and fees for using her father's writings and sermons as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

"We cannot continue to serve on the Board in what has become an adversarial and negative atmosphere especially since it now seems that it will not be ending anytime soon," Arvella Schuller said in a statement issued in March. 

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