Katy Perry wins major court victory in battle for former Los Feliz convent

LOS FELIZ, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Katy Perry has scored a major legal victory in her fight against an order of nuns and entrepreneur Dana Hollister to buy a former hilltop convent in Los Feliz.

The sale of the Roman villa-style convent has gone back and forth in court for months, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick cleared the way Wednesday for Perry to buy the estate from the Los Angeles' Catholic archbishop.

The Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the order of nuns that has owned the property for more than 40 years, hastily sold it to Hollister in 2015, bypassing approval from Archbishop Jose H. Gomez.

"We have control of our property, it's ours. The archdiocese is not taking care of us, we've been taking care of ourselves," Sister Catherine Rose told Eyewitness News last year.

The archdiocese and nuns agreed the property, which was bestowed to the sisters by a devout Catholic who wanted them to keep him in their prayers, should be sold. The two sides were fighting over whether Perry or Hollister, who wanted to use the convent for a hotel and restaurant project, were suitable buyers.

The "Roar" singer, whose parents are protestant ministers, had agreed to pay $14.5 million for the convent and to relocate an adjoining house of prayer used by priests. Hollister had agreed to pay the sisters about $10 million.

The archdiocese intervened, calling the Hollister offer a fraud. He said the sisters did not have the authority to sell the property and that the sale had not been approved by the archdiocese or Pope Francis. The archdiocese had entered into active negotiations with Perry to make the convent her home.

On Wednesday, Bowick ruled that the sisters' attempts to sell the property to Hollister were improper. Bowick ruled that Gomez has to first authorize any sale, and the nuns did not receive his permission before entering into an agreement with Hollister.

Hollister was in the process of renovating the convent when she was sued by the archdiocese last year, sparking months of litigation and highlighting conflict between the nuns and the archdiocese.

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 - continued to oppose the singer purchasing the convent.

"Subject to our receiving the written order, we are very pleased with the Judge's description of her ruling this morning, which indicates that we won the real property issues, clearing the way for our client to buy the property at issue," Perry's attorney, Eric Rowen, said in a statement released to Eyewitness News Wednesday morning.

The archdiocese released the following statement following the ruling: "The care and well-being of all five sisters has always been our primary concern. The Archdiocese was forced to take legal action to protect all the five sisters from being taken advantage of by the Dana Hollister transaction in which Hollister improperly took possession of their property for only $44,000 in cash and a contingent promissory note."

Perry's bid still has to be approved by the Vatican.

The Associated Press contributed to this report
Copyright © 2021 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.