Category Archives:Bankruptcy


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Bidding War Ends With Judge's Approval for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County to Buy Bankrupt Crystal Cathedral for $57.7 Million

Yesterday, an Orange County bankruptcy judge ruled that the bankrupt Crystal Cathedral will be sold for $57.5 million to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.
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The decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert N. Kwan came after a bidding war between the diocese and Orange County’s Chapman University for the 40-acre property.  Chapman fought strongly with a newly escalated bid of $59 million, and felt blindsided by the Crystal Cathedral board, which came down firmly on the side of the Catholic Church.


Under the diocese’s plan, the ministry will be able to lease the core buildings including the cathedral and the Tower of Hope for three years.  After three years, Crystal Cathedral Ministries and the school will move to the 10-acre property on Lewis Street where St. Callistus is now located.

The Crystal Cathedral, built by television evangelist Robert Schuller, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, citing more than $50 million in debtOften used by businesses, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy involves a bankruptcy reorganization plan that accommodates debt reorganization through a payment plan.  Under this chapter, debtors prepare a disclosure statement which describes their proposed reorganization proposal and payment plan.  The proposed plan is voted on by the various classes of creditors and then submitted to the Court for final approval.

A major advantage of a Chapter 11 filing is that the debtor generally remains in possession of their property and operates their business subject to court supervision.  This allows for the debtor to act as a trustee with respect to the property during the bankruptcy.  Chapter 11 debtors also often keep a substantial portion of their assets because the provisions of Chapter 11 allow the debtor relief from pending obligations and the opportunity to reorganize its business and restructure debts while continuing to operate the business.   Additionally, unlike Chapter 13 filing, there is also no limit to the amount of debt a debtor may have when filing for protection under Chapter 11.

While an individual debtor may qualify for Chapter 11 protection, for individual debtors one disadvantage is that there is no discharge unless the debtor makes all of the plan payments.  Unsecured creditors can also object to the proposed plan and force payment in full or the receipt of all disposable income for the duration of the plan.  Additionally, unlike a Chapter 12 plan which must be completed within five years, there is no time limit for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan to be completed.

Whether you own a business, individual or partnership and you are facing a financial crisis, there may be help for you to discharge all or a portion of your debts or to use bankruptcy to restructure your debt payments.  Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies are the most common types of bankruptcies available for individuals, but Crystal Cathedral has chosen to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy which is common for many businesses.


Bankruptcy is an important financial decision, and should not be made without first contacting a lawyer. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, contact the  Orange County law firm of Don Ho LLP for information.

All factual information taken from the Los Angeles Times



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L.A. Dodger Owners Agree to Divorce Settlement

Early last week, the feuding co-owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers came to an agreement regarding the division of their assets, including the iconic baseball team.  Under the proposed agreement, Frank McCourt would receive an advance of several hundred million dollars to pay off current debts and a sizeable lump-sum payment to his soon-to-be ex-wife, Jamie McCourt

Unfortunately for the McCourts, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, did not approve of the new television deal from Fox Sports that would have financed the entire agreement.  Citing the broad power of the Commissioner’s Office, Selig stated, “[The proposed TV deal was] structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt…[such a diversion] would have the effect of mortgaging the future of the franchise to the long-term detriment of the club and its fans.”

This week, as a last-ditch effort to maintain control of the team, Frank McCourt filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the ballclub.

This case is just the latest example of what can happen to a professional sports franchise when ownership of the franchise is shared between a husband and wife.  The biggest issues in this case are the division of marital property for an equitable division of the assets.  For most couples facing this situation, the biggest obstacle to a successful division of assets is figuring out how and what to divide – Does one party want to sell the marital residence?  What if there are minor children involved?  Do you want to keep the kids in a home they are familiar with?

Several of the issues that have arisen in this case are prevalent in the majority of California divorce matters, albeit on a larger scale than most cases.  If you are thinking about divorce or have recently been served with a Petition for Dissolution, call the Orange County family law firm of Don Ho, LLP to receive a referral for an experienced family law attorney.

All factual information provided by the Los Angeles Times


Don Ho Law     

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Potential Federal Government Shutdown Could Affect Bankruptcies Nationwide

For the past several weeks, Congress has been attempting to pass a new federal budget. The deadline for a new budget was to have been yesterday. However, this morning President Obama signed a short-term spending bill that will keep the federal government running for another week, until Friday, April 15th, 2011.  The threatened shutdown would shutter all “non-essential” government activities, such as National Parks, Museums, and court buildings, including all Bankruptcy Courts.  Police, fire department, and other “essential” services would have continued uninterrupted.  The government would have also stopped paying paychecks to most federal employees.  This new bill extends the deadline for Congress and the President to continue negotiations for another week.  


The potential federal shutdown could have major ramifications for the Bankruptcy Courts and its effect on the national foreclosure market.  Many struggling homeowners “stay” their impending foreclosures by filing bankruptcy with this specialized Federal Court.  A “stay” is a temporary halt to the foreclosure proceedings, allowing the homeowner several options: coming up with the arrearages on their mortgage, continuing negotiations on a loan modification or short-sale, or just allowing them to stay in their home for a few extra weeks or months while the bankruptcy is processed.


If citizens cannot file for bankruptcy protection, this will potentially swing greater power to the credit card and mortgage companies attempting to collect on billions of dollars of unpaid debts.  Until the federal budget is resolved, consumers will not have the shelter of the Bankruptcy Court to protect them from these creditors.


If you or someone you know has any questions about filing bankruptcy, contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney to have your questions answered.

The Orange County law firm of Don Ho, LLP can assist you with estate planning or any other legal matter.

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