LOS FELIZ—The fight over a 90-year-old convent has temporarily turned from an ownership dispute to a “battle of potential lessees,” according to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant.
Since June, the property has been a point of contention between a group of nuns and the Los Angeles Archdiocese. The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who previously occupied the convent, sold the property to businesswoman and hotelier Dana Hollister in May.
Pop singer Katy Perry reportedly had been interested in the property for years and attempted to buy it from the archdiocese in June, only to be blocked due to Hollister already having filed the deed. Earlier this week, the archdiocese’s lawyers filed papers asserting that Hollister used unsavory tactics to get the nuns to sell the property to her.
On Thursday, July 30, Judge Chalfant ruled that the nuns’ sale of the property to Hollister is invalid.
Although Chalfant declared that the Los Angeles Archdiocese has control over the property, he said that the nuns officially own it, and that all proceeds of the sale should go to them. Previous reports say that Hollister paid $10 million for the property, but reports from court today say that she actually offered to buy the property for $15.5 million, $1 million more than Perry offered.
Hollister currently has control over the property, which she plans on turning into a hotel with a bar and restaurant. She has already began making renovations and has been paying the nuns $25,000 a month since she began occupying it. The archdiocese’s attorneys had attempted to file an injunction to keep her off of the property, but that was unsuccessful. Judge Chalfant ruled that Hollister may stay on the premises for the next 45 days as long as she continues to pay the monthly $25,000.
Representatives of Katy Perry and the archdiocese are currently banned from visiting, despite her previous approval to survey the site with an architect.
The decision on who will get the opportunity to purchase the convent may not be determined for two years. Judge Chalfant decided that the next hearing will decide who should be allowed to rent the property temporarily until the official ownership is established.
The hearing is scheduled for September 15. Both Perry and Hollister are expected to present arguments.