Pop music superstar Katy Perry and another developer have expressed interest in obtaining a Los Angeles convent currently run by nuns. However, a judge has ruled that no one can own the estate for now in the process of settling the dispute.
According to a report from Anthony McCartney of the Associated Press, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant ruled that entrepreneur Dana Hollister's purchase of the convent was invalid. In addition, he ordered her to pay $25,000 a month in rent to support the nuns and barred access to representatives for both Perry and the Los Angeles Catholic archbishop during the dispute, which could take months to resolve.
"There is no doubt in my mind sale to defendant Hollister was improper and invalid," Chalfant said.
However, Alex Doubuzinskis of Reuters reported that an archdiocese attorney disclosed to the judge that Perry, a former Christian singer, wanted to submit a competing bid to rent the property. The judge stopped short of allowing the archdiocese to sell the disputed property to the pop star in exchange for $14.5 million.
"We'll have a battle of potential lessees of this property for the benefit of the sisters," Chalfant said.
According to Reuters, both proposed sales have been disputed in court. The archdiocese acknowledged in a June lawsuit that the nuns' institute holds the title to the property but claims to have power over its sale.
"Perry has sought to buy the property from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, but nuns who once lived there objected and tried through their institute, Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to sell it to a restaurateur," Doubuzinskis wrote.
The Associated Press elaborated on the details of both potential deals.
"The 'Roar' singer, whose parents are Protestant ministers, has agreed to pay $14.5 million for the convent and to relocate an adjoining house of prayer used by priests," McCartney wrote. "Hollister has agreed to pay $15.5 million, with $5.5 million dedicated to relocating the prayer house."
According to the Associated Press, the "Roman villa-style convent" is eight acres and sits on a hill in the Los Feliz neighborhood, located near Hollywood. The judge also ruled that church law, not civil law, governs the sale of the convent.
"You're not selling to Katy Perry anytime soon," Chalfant said to the archbishop's lawyers.
Attorney Bernie Resser, who represents the nuns, told Reuters that his clients still hoped to share net proceeds of a sale.
"Obviously, Catholic nuns are not particularly enamored of the image that Katy Perry puts out," Resser said outside the court.
Regardless of how the court rules in the matter, the Associated Press reported that Vatican approval is still required for Perry's bid to purchase the convent.