Crystal Cathedral to file bankruptcy exit plan

By GILLIAN FLACCUS | May 27, 2011 | 1:13 PM EDT

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) — The Crystal Cathedral megachurch will immediately file plans to emerge from bankruptcy by selling its 40-acre Southern California campus and famous glass-spired church to a real estate investment group.

The church's bankruptcy attorney, Marc Winthrop, says Friday the plan includes a 15-year leaseback guarantee, with the option of buying back the core church campus within four years at a fixed price.

He says the leaseback provision means worshippers wouldn't see any changes in services or outreach, and operations at the ministry would remain the same.

The world-famous church filed for Chapter 11 last year with about $36 million in mortgage debt and $7.5 million in debt to unpaid vendors.

Winthrop says the plan that requires approval by a judge would wipe out most of what the church owes.