A look at the Recent Court Decision involving Katy Perry
Katy Perry was interested in buying a former convent in Los Angeles where she intends to reside during her stay in California and while touring the country. The former convent on Waverly Drive in Los Feliz neighborhood is a hilltop property with amazing views of San Gabriel Mountains. The globally acclaimed pop star had an agreement with the Archbishop Jose Gomez who approved the sale of the eight acre former convent for $14.5 million. The transaction could not go through as local developer and restaurateur Dana Hollister had apparently purchased the property from two sisters of the church. Perry and the church took Dana Hollister and the two sisters to court and the latter have been asked to pay $10 million in punitive damages to settle the case.
A jury in Los Angeles found Dana Hollister guilty of having entered into a sale agreement, being fully aware of the fact that the sellers did not have the authority to facilitate the sale of the property. Perry was represented by Eric Rowen, who is the car accident attorney for the company Bird Nest that the pop star had set up for the purchase. Katy Perry wanted to use the property as her private residence, which is partly why Archbishop Gomez had accepted her proposition. Dana Hollister wanted to convert the former convent into a hotel, something she has done with a few other properties in the region.
Hollister signed a deal with two nuns that used to live at the former convent. Sisters Catherine Rose Holzman and Rita Callanan claimed they had the authority to sell the property but clearly they did not. Any property of the church that was valued at $7.5 million or more needed the approval of the Archbishop and also of the Vatican before any sale agreement could be executed. Dana Hollister and the two nuns have been held guilty of committing fraud. Hollister has been held guilty of oppression and of having acted with malice. It was a short trial that lasted ten days, at the end of which the jury awarded the $10 million to the archdiocese, California Institute of the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Katy Perry. Each of the three parties is to receive a third of the total settlement.
Interestingly, Dana Hollister had paid only forty four thousand dollars for the property and was expected to pay the remaining $9.9 million in three years. This is in sharp contrast to the $14.5 million that Katy Perry wanted to pay straightaway for the same property. While assessing the amount for the settlement, the jury took into consideration the net worth of Dana Hollister. She had applied for a loan in 2014 wherein her net worth was stated as $16 million. The settlement is indeed one of the costlier ones in disputes such as this, primarily because Perry and the church had a strong case. The mala fide intention of Hollister and personal bias of the two sisters were clearly established during the trial.