Perry Victorious, Now 2nd Phase of Trial to Begin Dec. 1st
A jury November 17th ordered Silver Lake businesswoman Dana Hollister to pay about $3.5 million to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and just over $1.5 million to singer Katy Perry in attorney’s fees for interfering in the sale of a Los Feliz former convent to the singer.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated one day before reaching its verdict against Hollister for “slander of title,” “interference with contractual relations” and “interference with prospective economic advantage.”
The jury also found Hollister acted with “malice” and “oppression or fraud,” triggering a second phase of the trial to begin December 1st to determine if the archdiocese, the California Institute of the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary and Perry should be awarded punitive damages.
In closing arguments, an attorney for the archdiocese told jurors that Perry’s 2015 bid to buy the Waverly Drive property and live there with her mother was thwarted by Hollister, costing the archdiocese $3.47 million in fees and costs.
Archdiocese lawyer Kirk Dillman told jurors Hollister needed to pay a price for recording a grant deed knowing she needed the permission of the archbishop and ultimately the Vatican.
“Ms. Hollister needs to be hit where it hurts, in the pocketbook,” Dillman said.
Eric Rowen, Perry’s attorney, had recommended Hollister be ordered to pay $2.64 million to compensate the singer for thousands of hours of work by her attorneys.
“She slandered everybody’s title on purpose … to stop the transaction,” he said.
Hollister’s attorney, Michael Geibelson, countered his client thought she had an enforceable contract to buy the property and did not intend to cause financial harm to the archdiocese or Perry.
“I don’t think Dana Hollister did anything wrong as to either of these parties,” Geibelson said.
Hollister, who owns Silver Lake restaurant Cliff’s Edge and Brite Spot diner in Echo Park, made her purchase through Sisters Rita Callanan and Catherine Rose Holzman, who maintained they had the authority to sell the property to the businesswoman. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick later canceled the deal.
The two nuns are among five members of the institute and are the only members who oppose the sale of their former home to the 33-year-old singer.
The convent has been vacant since 2011, when it became too costly for the retired sisters to maintain and no longer accommodated their physical needs. The proceeds from any sale of the property would go to the IHM Institute, according to archdiocese.
The sale to Perry was for $14.5 million, consisting of $10 million in cash and an agreement to provide an alternative property for a priest’s house of prayer on the premises worth $4.5 million, according to the archdiocese.
In contrast, Hollister paid $44,000 and agreed to a contingent promissory note to pay $9.9 million in three years, Dillman said.
Dillman has said Hollister likely never would have gotten the permits for a boutique hotel she wanted for the property and that she could have walked away from the deal if it no longer suited her.
A request for comment from Perry’s attorney was not returned.
Allison B. Cohen contributed to this story.