Pop star Katy Perry wins lawsuit to buy former convent

Singer Katy Perry wins a lawsuit for purchase of a US$15 million former convent.
Singer Katy Perry wins a lawsuit for purchase of a US$15 million former convent.PHOTO: AFP

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

The elderly sisters who sold the sprawling eight-acre 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 to property to the singer, who rose to fame with the hit I Kissed A Girl.

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

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

The nuns also said they didn't want the Archbishop to control the proceeds of the sale, which is supposed to support them in their old age. Gomez 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," J. Michael Hennigan, a lawyer for the archbishop, said in a phone interview.

Eric Rowen, a lawyer for Perry, said in an e-mail that he was pleased with the judge's ruling. Randy Snyder, a lawyer for Hollister, didn't immediately return a phone call after regular business hours seeking comment on the decision.

The case is Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles v. Hollister, BC585604, Los Angeles County Superior Court.