June 23, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Judge to Consider Fate of Sale of Convent to Singer Katy Perry

Katy Perry is  interested in buying a former Los Angeles convent (Thinkstock: Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images).
Katy Perry is interested in buying a former Los Angeles convent (Thinkstock: Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images).

A judge is scheduled to hear arguments today on whether the sale of a former convent in Los Feliz to a restaurant owner should be voided so that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles can sell it instead to singer Katy Perry.

The archdiocese filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on June 19, stating that Dana Hollister is considering using the property for a boutique hotel with a restaurant and bar. According to the lawsuit, the archdiocese’s lease of the buildings for the priests’ house of prayer has a remaining term of 77 years.

“Terminating that lease cannot occur without the consent and agreement of the archdiocese,” the suit states.

The archdiocese had no choice but to sue, according to a statement released by a spokeswoman in late June.

“Unfortunately, the archdiocese had to take civil action to protect against the unauthorized action by Ms. Hollister, which was undertaken after the preferred transaction had been accepted in consultation with the Sisters,” the archdiocese statement reads.

“The Hollister transaction lacks the required approval from the archdiocese and the Holy See and does not provide a solution for the house of prayer, which is on the property. The Archdiocese continues to work with the sisters to ensure that decisions concerning the sale of the property are made in their best interest. We want to make sure no one takes advantage of the sisters.”

The sale to Hollister was for $10 million, of which only $100,000 has been paid, according to the statement. The proposed sale to Perry would be worth $14.5 million, consisting of $10 million in cash and an agreement to provide an alternative property for the house of prayer worth $4.5 million, according to the archdiocese.

The same day the suit was filed, Judge Robert O’Brien issued a temporary restraining order directing Hollister to permit archdiocese officials and their attorneys to enter the property.

Lawyers for the archdiocese are now asking that a preliminary injunction be issued enjoining Hollister from occupying the property and from interfering with the plaintiffs’ attempts to sell the property to Perry. Judge James Chalfant will preside over today’s hearing.

The Sisters of the Most Holy’s activities are overseen by the archdiocese under orders issued in 2005 and 2013 in which the Rev. Thomas Anslow was appointed to act as the legal agent authorized to act in all civil matters on behalf of the institute, the suit states.

In his sworn statement, Anslow says Perry’s representatives first inquired about the property in late 2011 or early 2012. He says the archbishop initially was cool to the idea and said it was not for sale.

However, last year Perry’s group made a renewed pitch, this time offering to build a new priests’ house of prayer elsewhere and to allow the clergy to remain on the property for a nominal rent until the new structure was completed, according to the archdiocese attorneys’ court papers.

Perry’s precise plans for the property have not publicly been revealed.

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