Cornerstone Church's assets on auction block

FRESNO, Calif.

Cornerstone Church has one of the largest followings in the Central Valley with thousands of worshippers. Action News first uncovered the church's money problems in 2007 when at least four of its properties started the foreclosure process.

"It's obvious when you're in these types of financial situations, but my goodness when you see companies like Gottschalks and the major banks in town. Again we shouldn't think we're immune to it." said Pastor Franklin.

Pastor Jim Franklin spoke candidly about the unpaid loans and how it forced the church to give up on its dreams of expansion. The mixed use properties include a conference center, parking lots, and empty dirt lots. With unpaid balances totaling $5.5 million dollars. And while they'll all be up for grabs, the Wilson Theatre is the one piece of property franklin is emphatic about keeping.

"The ministries of the church will go on. We're in communication with our lender in that. We've worked our ability to then rent the property back and so Cornerstone's not going anywhere. We're committed to Fresno." said Pastor Franklin.

"Every time that there's a change there's an opportunity for new ideas and new energy." said Craig Scharton.

Craig Scharton is Fresno's Downtown Revitalization Director. He's saddened by the church's financial woes but is excited about the new possibilities for the urban area.

"The good news is that I don't think anything is going to sit still for very long. People see that things are heading in the right direction and someone's going to jump on board." added Scharton.

Cornerstone's loss could be someone else's gain. Prominent downtown developers like Jake Kojikian who's building the Mayflower Lofts and Reza Assemi who brought the Iron Bird Lofts to life, told Action News over the phone the foreclosed properties are attractive. But neither one would say if they plan on making any bids.

The auction is expected to take place July 8th at the WT Capital Lender services office in Northwest Fresno.

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