Judge lets Katy Perry buy convent

Singer Katy Perry at the the launch of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in Westwood, California, earlier this week.
Singer Katy Perry at the the launch of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in Westwood, California, earlier this week.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Singer Katy Perry can proceed with her purchase of a US$15-million (S$20.4-million) former convent from the Los Angeles archbishop after a judge ruled that the surviving nuns who used to live there could not sell the property to a local developer.

The elderly sisters, who sold the sprawling 3.2ha Romanesque estate last year without the approval of Archbishop Jose Gomez, had no authority to do so, a state court judge in Los Angeles ruled on Wednesday. The decision clears the way for Gomez to sell the property to the singer, who rose to fame with the hit I Kissed A Girl.

The two out of the five surviving Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary who made a deal last year with Ms Dana Hollister, a developer who wanted to transform the property into a boutique hotel, had opposed the sale to Perry, 31, for what they said were "obvious reasons" for Catholic nuns.

"The sisters are disappointed in the ruling," Mr John Scholnick, a lawyer for the nuns, said in a telephone interview. "We're studying the 27-page opinion and we'll consider our options, including filing an appeal."

The nuns also said they did not want the archbishop to control the proceeds of the sale, which is supposed to support them in their old age.

The archbishop maintained that only he and the Holy See could approve the sale of the convent.

"We're obviously glad this case has reached a conclusion," Mr J. Michael Hennigan, a lawyer for the archbishop, said.

Mr Eric Rowen, a lawyer for Perry, said in an e-mail that he was pleased with the judge's ruling.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2016, with the headline 'Judge lets Katy Perry buy convent'. Print Edition | Subscribe