Plan by Judge May Allow Pop Star Katy Perry to Rent Convent

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Here’s The $15 Million L.A. Estate Two Nuns Don’t Want Katy Perry to Buy.

A judge said Thursday he believes a group of elderly nuns improperly sold their hilltop convent to a businesswoman but delayed any efforts by church officials to finalize a competing sale to pop singer Katy Perry. There’s a lot going on in the legal battle between two California nuns and the head of the Diocese of Los Angeles over the clergyman’s plan to sell a former convent worth about $15 million to pop star Katy Perry.Katy Perry must wait to buy a $15-million former convent from the Los Angeles archbishop as a judge refused — for now — to evict a local developer who bought it last month from disgruntled nuns. That includes accusations of elder abuse, the invocation of canon law, and a critical assessment of the “I Kissed A Girl” singer by two Catholic sisters. (They’re not fans, according to legal filings, “for what should be obvious reasons.”) The estate, which was once home to the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is also worthy of attention. It’s a sprawling compound in L.A.’s Los Feliz neighborhood that looks halfway between a castle and a villa, replete with stained-glass windows, a pipe organ, and a main room with 30-foot ceilings.

While the judge preliminarily ruled that entrepreneur Dana Hollister’s purchase of the convent is invalid, he ordered her to pay $25,000 a month to support the nuns and denied representatives for Los Angeles’ Catholic archbishop or Perry access to the convent during the dispute. A Los Angeles County Superior Court hears arguments on the case today. “It’s fascinating on all different levels,” an observer told Bloomberg’s Edvard Pettersson. “I never thought I’d see the day when Katy Perry is in bed with the archbishop.” The order of nuns that has owned the property for more than 40 years hastily sold it to Hollister in June, bypassing approval from Los Angeles’ archbishop. The case pits two of the five sisters against Archbishop Jose Gomez who agreed to sell the estate to Perry, the flamboyant pop singer who rose to fame with the hit “I Kissed A Girl” and has been known to shoot whipped cream out of her brassiere. For his part, Gomez cites both canon and California law as being on his side in the bid to annul the nuns’ transaction with local restaurateur Dana Hollister.

The archbishop accuses Hollister of taking advantage of Sisters Rita Callanan, 77, Catherine Rose Holzma, 86, and other nuns who once lived in the villa, by paying only $100,000 upfront and the balance with a $9.9 million promissory note His lawsuit, which claims only he and the Vatican can decide the fate of the property, asks that the sale to Hollister “be declared void as a product of elder abuse.” Hollister called the allegation “ridiculous” and defended the sisters’ mental fitness. “They’re not dumb at all,” she said Wednesday. “No one is saying Warren Buffett is 84 years old and can’t run his own company.” Sister Jean-Marie Dunne doesn’t like Gomez’s attitude either. The “Roar” singer, whose parents are protestant ministers, has agreed to pay $14.5 million for the convent and to relocate an adjoining house of prayer used by priests.

The 88-year-old has said she doesn’t want any part of the public confrontation, according to court documents, but an e-mail she sent him became part of the record. “OLD AGE does not necessarily = SENILITY,” she wrote. Hollister, who lives in another former convent nearby, said she’s done some work, restoring the pool and removing an altar from the main room, which has a 30-foot ceiling and hand-carved fireplace. According to Sisters Rita and Catherine Rose, Gomez told them last year that he wanted to sell to “someone named Katherine Hudson,” who they later learned was Katy Perry. They weren’t happy with the idea that they wouldn’t be in charge of proceeds of a sale, nor with the prospect of the villa being occupied by someone who favors bustiers and was described as a “full-on male fantasy” in GQ magazine. “In selling to Katy Perry, we feel we are being forced to violate our canonical vows to the Catholic Church,” Sister Catherine Rose wrote in a June 13 e-mail. Hollister attended the hearing, sitting in the second row next to a pair of the nuns, one of whom listened to Chalfant describe his ruling with her hand over her mouth.

As for his suit, he filed to “help the Sisters regain possession of their property and ensure that any future proceeds of an authorized sale will be dedicated to their care,” the archdiocese said last week. She called the archdiocese short on “humility and honesty” in her e-mail, and the men in charge “rather obsessed with their misconception of their sovereign, ecclesiastical canonical importance.” Bernard Resser, a lawyer for the nuns, said in a e-mail after Thursday’s hearing that the sisters have demonstrated they are self-sufficient and capable of conducting their own affairs. “We’re pleased that the sisters’ efforts to maintain their independence, control the sale and the proceeds of the sale remain alive and well,” he said.

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