Judge leaves Katy Perry’s bid to pur­chase con­vent in limbo


Katy Perry’s dream of own­ing a hill­top con­vent near Hol­ly­wood is go­ing to have to wait a while longer.

The con­vent, which Perry has wanted to buy to be her per­sonal res­i­dence for sev­eral years, is in the mid­dle of a le­gal fight be­tween a group of el­derly nuns and the arch­bishop of Los An­ge­les over who has con­trol of the sale and its pro­ceeds.

Some of the nuns don’t want Perry to buy their for­mer home and in June hastily sold the con­vent to a busi­ness­woman with am­bi­tions of turn­ing it into a bou­tique ho­tel.

Su­pe­rior Court Judge James C. Chal­fant said Thurs­day that he be­lieves the sale to en­tre­pre­neur Dana Hollister is in­valid. Still, he blocked Perry and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the arch­dio­cese from vis­it­ing the con­vent un­til af­ter the court case is re­solved. That could take months, if not years, the judge said.

“You’re not selling to Katy Perry any­time soon,” the judge told lawyers for the arch­bishop.

Arch­bishop Jose H. Gomez wants to sell the con­vent to Perry, but the sale can­not go for­ward be­cause Hollister has al­ready reg­is­tered a deed for the prop­erty.

The Ro­man villa- style con­vent sits on 3.2 hectares in the Los Feliz neigh­bor­hood.

Perry’s in­volve­ment as well as in­fight­ing be­tween the nuns and arch­bishop packed the court­room Thurs­day with jour­nal­ists, con­cerned res­i­dents, Hollister and two of the nuns.

Chal­fant’s mixed rul­ing re­quires Hollister to pay US$ 25,000 a month to the nuns un­til a Septem­ber hear­ing, when he will de­ter­mine who should pay rent on the prop­erty while the court bat­tle is waged.

An at­tor­ney for Perry, who per­formed her hit “Roar” at this year’s Su­per Bowl half­time show, said the singer would pay rent on the prop­erty.

With a pair of nuns watch­ing in the au­di­ence, Chal­fant said it ap­peared they had acted im­prop­erly when they sold the con­vent to Hollister in June.

“There is no doubt in my mind sale to de­fen­dant Hollister was im­proper and in­valid,” the judge said.

The Sis­ters of the Most Holy and Im­mac­u­late Heart of the Blessed Vir­gin Mary have owned the prop­erty for more than 40 years, but they haven’t lived in the con­vent for sev­eral years. Only five sis­ters, rang­ing from 77 to 88, re­main, and their or­der has bick­ered with the arch­bishop for years on var­i­ous is­sues.

Chal­fant said the case boiled down to con­trol and ruled that the dis­pute should be gov­erned by church, not civil laws. But at one point he chided the arch­bishop’s lawyers over the church’s treat­ment of the sis­ters.

“They don’t need your help, so long as you let them have their own money,” Chal­fant said, draw­ing cheers from the au­di­ence.

Bernard Resser, an at­tor­ney for the sis­ters, said af­ter the hear­ing that the judge seemed to rec­og­nize the nuns’ con­cerns about their wel­fare.

“The Sis­ters of the Im­mac­u­late Heart of Mary have shown great courage in main­tain­ing their in­de­pen­dence and have demon­strated they are self- suf­fi­cient and ca­pa­ble of con­duct­ing their own af­fairs,” Resser wrote in a state­ment.

The prop­erty was be­stowed to them by a de­vout Catholic who wanted the nuns to keep him in their prayers.

Be­fore it was a con­vent, the prop­erty was a pri­vate res­i­dence, rarely pho­tographed, and few peo­ple have ever seen it up close.

“It’s re­ally a beau­ti­ful, old Hol­ly­wood es­tate,” said Adrian Glick Kudler, se­nior editor of the real es­tate blog Curbed LA.

Perry, whose par­ents are protes­tant min­is­ters, has agreed to pay US$ 14.5 mil­lion for the con­vent and to re­lo­cate an ad­join­ing house of prayer used by priests. Hollister has agreed to pay US$ 15.5 mil­lion, with US$ 5.5 mil­lion ded­i­cated to re­lo­cat­ing the prayer house.

In May, at the arch­bishop’s re­quest, the nuns met with Perry to see if a com­pro­mise could be worked out.

At least two of the five sur­viv­ing nuns — who had al­ready searched for Perry’s mu­sic videos and weren’t pleased with what they saw — weren’t swayed by the meet­ing.

Perry’s bid to pur­chase the con­vent still re­quires the Vat­i­can’s ap­proval.


In this Feb. 8, file photo, Katy Perry ar­rives at the 57th an­nual Grammy Awards at the Sta­ples Cen­ter in Los An­ge­les.

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