Hollister Says Offer Higher than Perry’s

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)

Silver Lake’s Dana Hollister testified today she believed the Los Angeles Archbishop was not opposed to her $15.5 million proposal to buy a former convent in Los Feliz and had begun making plans for the future when she was surprised to learn that an offer from Katy Perry was still being considered.

Testifying on her own behalf in Los Angeles Superior Court, Hollister said the attorney for an order of nuns–who once lived at the Waverly Drive property–told her after an April 2015 meeting that the nuns had the archbishop’s blessing to sell the property to her. But a month later, Hollister said, she learned the archbishop summoned the nuns to a meeting with Perry.

“I thought it was really weird because I was already in escrow,” Hollister said.

According to Hollister, the nuns were happy with her bid because it was $1 million higher than what Perry offered and would generate some income during
escrow for the sisters. She said the nuns also were happy that she was considering putting a hotel there that would create jobs.

Hollister, in her testimony today, said she never doubted when she entered escrow that the nuns had the authority to sell the property.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles filed suit against Hollister shortly after she recorded the grant deed in June 2015, alleging that the businesswoman
knew she needed the written authority of the archbishop to buy the property as well as approval from the Vatican.

The archdiocese and Perry maintain Hollister’s actions forced them to come to court and fight for two years to undo Hollister’s transaction.

The archdiocese maintains Hollister made the purchase through Sisters Rita Callanan and Catherine Rose Holzman, representing only two of the five
nuns of the California Institute of the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick later canceled the deal.

The two nuns are the only members of the order who are against the sale of their former home to Perry, according to the institute and the archdiocese, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Hollister testified that she first visited the property in 1999 and became enamored with it. She said the convent’s gates were open at the time and
that she met the nun, Callanan first, and later the property manager. Years later, the property manager invited her to bid on the property when it came up for sale, she said.

According to Hollister, the Paramour property where she currently lives in Silver Lake also was once the home for another order of nuns. She said she bought the property for $2.25 million in the 1990s and upgraded what was a deteriorating group of buildings in a crime-ridden neighborhood so that it is
now the site of film shoots, weddings and other events.

The Los Feliz property has been vacant since 2011 because it became too costly for the retired sisters to maintain and no longer accommodated their physical needs, and the proceeds from any sale of the property would go to the institute, according to the archdiocese.

Perry, 33, is seeking $2 million in compensation for attorneys’ fees from Hollister and the archdiocese is seeking another $3.5 million for the same.

Perry’s $14.5 million deal includes $10 million in cash, plus another $4.5 million to provide an alternative property for a house of prayer for
priests that still has a lease on the Waverly Drive property, according to the archdiocese.

Despite Hollister’s higher offer, she only paid $44,000 and agreed to a contingent promissory note, archdiocese attorney J. Michael Hennigan has said.

The judge overseeing the trial has frequently pressed attorneys to speed it up so the trial can be given to the jury next week. If forced to go into the
week of Thanksgiving, the risk of losing unhappy jurors and forcing a mistrial will be enhanced, Superior Court judge Bowick said.

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