Perry vs. Hollister: Convent Battle Continues

Sister Rita Callanan, center, is escorted by businesswoman Dana Hollister out of Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, July 30, 2015. Callanan is part of an order of elderly nuns locked in a battle with Los Angeles' archbishop over the sale of their former convent, which pop singer Katy Perry wants to buy.  (AP Photo/Anthony McCartney)

Sister Rita Callanan, center, is escorted by businesswoman Dana Hollister out of Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, July 30, 2015. Callanan is part of an order of elderly nuns locked in a battle with Los Angeles’ archbishop over the sale of their former convent, which pop singer Katy Perry wants to buy. (AP Photo/Anthony McCartney)

LOS ANGELES–A judge heard arguments today on separate motions to invalidate the sale of a former convent in Los Feliz to a businesswoman in favor of making it available to singer Katy Perry, but did not issue an immediate ruling.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick took the motions under submission. She did not say when she would have a decision.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles started the litigation by filing suit against restaurant owner Dana Hollister last June. The sale to Hollister is favored by two nuns who are members of the California Institute of the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The nuns, Sisters Rita Callahan and Catherine Rose Holzman, also are represented individually by lawyer John Scholnick, who argued against today’s motions. He said more information-sharing–known in legal circles as “discovery”–needs to be done before Bowick can rule.

The sale to Hollister was for $10 million, of which only $100,000 has been paid, according to the archdiocese. 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.

Perry filed a cross-complaint against Hollister and the archdiocese asking that a judge give the singer’s company, Bird Nest LLC, the sole right to purchase the property.

The archdiocese then filed a motion to nullify the sale to Hollister on grounds that such a transaction required approval of the archbishop and the pope.

Lawyers for Perry’s company asked in their motion that Bowick clear the way for the sale of the property to the “Roar” singer. Bird Nest attorney Eric Rowen said the sisters’ attorneys gave up part of their clients’ case last week when a petition challenging the authority of the archbishop was withdrawn.

“All they want to do is fight another day,” Rowen said. “Well, today is the end of the line.”
Archdiocese attorney J. Michael Hennigan said that all internal reviews of the matter within the church bureaucracy have been concluded, according to a document he obtained that was written in Latin.

But Scholnick said the nuns’ petition was withdrawn for tactical reasons and could be brought again depending on what is learned during further discovery. He also said he questioned whether the interpretation of the document to which Hennigan referred was translated into English accurately.

Hennigan said that if even both motions are granted, the archdiocese’s case against Hollister will continue to determine whether the plaintiffs are entitled to damages from the businesswoman.

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