Katy Perry, Nuns In Legal Battle Over Sale Of Former Los Angeles Convent

LOS ANGELES (CNS/FOX 11) - The Archdiocese of Los Angeles issued a statement Monday saying that Katy Perry, rather than a woman who owns several restaurants, is entitled to purchase a Los Feliz property formerly used as a convent because the singer offered a better deal that will protect the nuns.

The statement comes 10 days after the archdiocese filed a lawsuit asking a judge to block the sale of the property, which is currently used as a house of prayer for priests, to nightlife maven Dana Hollister.

The June 19 suit states Hollister is considering using the property for a boutique hotel with a restaurant and bar and that the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary have already agreed to Hollister's purchase of the buildings in the 3400 block of Waverly Drive (map).

According to the lawsuit, the archdiocese's lease of the buildings for the priests' house of prayer has a remaining term of 77 years.

"Terminating that lease cannot occur without the consent and agreement of the archdiocese, which is highly unlikely to occur under this transaction,'' the suit states.

The archdiocese had no choice but to sue, the statement reads.

"Unfortunately, the archdiocese had to take civil action to protect against the unauthorized action by Ms. Hollister, which was undertaken after the preferred transaction had been accepted in consultation with the Sisters,'' the archdiocese statement reads.

"The Hollister transaction lacks the required approval from the archdiocese and the Holy See and does not provide a solution for the house of prayer, which is on the property. The Archdiocese continues to work with the sisters to ensure that decisions concerning the sale of the property are made in their best interest. We want to make sure no one takes advantage of the sisters.''

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

The same day the suit was filed, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien issued a temporary restraining order directing Hollister to permit archdiocese officials and their attorneys to enter the property.

The order requires that Hollister be given 24 hours notice if archdiocese representatives want to show the property.

Lawyers for Hollister and the nuns opposed the TRO. Hollister's attorney, Randy Snyder, says in his court papers that Hollister is already the legal title holder of the property and is in possession of it.

A hearing on whether a preliminary injunction should be issued against Hollister is scheduled for July 9.

The Sisters of the Most Holy's activities are overseen by the archdiocese under orders issued in 2005 and 2013 in which the Rev. Thomas Anslow was appointed to act as the legal agent authorized to act in all civil matters on behalf of the institute, the suit states.

Despite such oversight, "unauthorized persons'' associated with the Sisters of the Most Holy organization in April and May reached an agreement to sell the property to Hollister, the suit says.

"Neither (the archdiocese) nor Father Anslow consented to the sale to (Hollister), in writing or otherwise,'' according to the lawsuit.

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