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Evangelist seeks $5m from church

LOS ANGELES — The aging founder of the Crystal Cathedral has gone to court seeking more than $5 million from the ministry he built from scratch in a dispute that has delayed millions in payments to creditors left short-handed when the church filed for bankruptcy two years ago.

The Rev. Robert H. Schuller was in Los Angeles on Thursday for the start of a 10-day trial over copyright infringement, intellectual property, and contract violation allegations that stem from his ministry’s devastating financial collapse. The trial continued Friday with testimony expected from his wife, daughter, and son-in-law.

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Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy in 2010 with more than $50 million in debt. The Schuller family’s claims continue to delay about $12.5 million in payments to creditors. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange purchased the ministry’s soaring, glass-paned Crystal Cathedral last year in a bankruptcy deal.

‘‘We’re just hoping that it’s soon over, so we can just move on,’’ John Charles, chief executive officer of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, told The Orange County Register. ‘‘It’s been painful for both sides.’’

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