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The Rev. Robert H. Schuller is not giving up the fight over what he claims is a breach of contract by Crystal Cathedral Ministries, which he founded, and has filed an appeal after his loss last month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Robert Harold Inc., the corporation behind Schuller, filed the appeal on Tuesday, the Orange County Register noted. Although Judge Robert Kwan awarded the 86-year-old former church leader $615,625, that is well under the $5 million sought by Schuller for what he says was a breach of contract, copyright infringement and intellectual-property rights by his former ministry.
The Rev. Schuller and his wife, Arvella, founded Crystal Cathedral Ministries in 1955, which grew to be one of the largest Christian ministries in California, before they filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Schuller is now claiming that administrators of the ministry used his books and other works for their ministry even after he resigned as chairman.
"We never had anything in writing. We just had an understanding," the former megachurch leader said, "a gentleman's understanding."
Carol Schuller Milner, the couple's daughter, also filed claims in the case, and was awarded along with her husband Tim Milner $77,615 last month. The Milners, however, said that they will not be appealing.
"We want to move on," Milner said Wednesday. "My husband and I still look forward to a future of success in ministry and business. But my parents are in a place where they can't move on. They're in their 80s."
At a hearing earlier in November, some onlookers noted that Schuller seemed "confused and forgetful" and made multiple errors when recalling certain details regarding his association with the Crystal Cathedral, such as referring to himself as the current chairman of the organization.
"It's sad. It didn't have to be this way," said Pam House, a Crystal Cathedral elder who attended the court hearing in which Schuller testified. "If they had been more open about their finances, like other churches, and worked as a team, maybe we all could have worked on this together and prevented the bankruptcy."
The iconic Crystal Cathedral church is now called "Christ Cathedral" after the Garden Grove property was purchased by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange for $57.5 million last year, and is expected to be the largest Roman Catholic sanctuary in the world outside the Vatican.