Hollywood Local News

Battle to purchase former convent becomes personal

LOS ANGELES — A businesswoman vying with Katy Perry to buy a former convent in Los Feliz says in new court papers that the neighborhood would be adversely impacted if the entertainer is sold the property because there are no guarantees what the “Roar” singer will do with it.

“I am certain that if [Perry] owned the property, the gates outside … will become the home of the paparazzi,” restaurant owner Dana Hollister says in an eight-page sworn declaration filed Jan. 19 by her lawyers in Los Angeles Superior Court. “The truth of that assertion is borne out by the media attention this case has garnered.”

Hollister says that Perry’s proposal to buy the property contains a provision stating the singer would limit the number of guests at social events to 150 and that they would end by 1 a.m.

“Thus, any suggestion that [Perry’s] use of the property will not impact the neighborhood is wholly disingenuous,” Hollister says.

Hollister further says she is still undecided how she would use the former convent, but that a “small use boutique hotel is certainly a possibility” as she contemplates her options.

“This of course depends upon working with the neighborhood and securing the appropriate permits and entitlements from the city of Los Angeles,” Hollister says. “It is doubtful that given the nature of the property and its setback from other properties that this would disrupt the neighborhood.”

The archdiocese started the litigation by filing suit against Hollister last June 19, stating that Hollister is considering using the property for a boutique hotel with a restaurant and bar. According to that lawsuit, the archdiocese’s lease of the buildings for a priests’ house of prayer has a remaining term of 77 years.

The sale to Hollister is favored by two nuns who are members of the California Institute of the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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

Perry has filed a cross-complaint against Hollister and the archdiocese asking that a judge give the singer’s company, Bird Nest LLC, the sole right to purchase the property.

A judge ruled Jan. 19 that Hollister must undergo a deposition with Perry’s attorneys by the end of February.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick also said that documents Perry’s attorneys want from Hollister in advance of the deposition must be delivered to the lawyers.

Bowick urged Hollister’s attorney, Randy Snyder, to communicate more often with Perry’s lawyers so that future such motions can be avoided.

Snyder told Bowick he spoke with Perry lawyer Lisa McCurdy five minutes before the Jan. 19 hearing, but that he was busy accumulating the documents and that he had not had time to have contact with Perry’s lawyers sooner. He also said he was occupied preparing for other upcoming motions in the litigation.

But Bowick said Snyder should have contacted Perry’s lawyers sooner.

“I’m kind of big on communication, even if you send just an email to counsel,” Bowick said.

The judge said talking with opposing lawyers helps avert the chance the other side’s lawyers will walk into a hearing “thinking you’re blowing them off.”

The judge said she is available informally to both sides to help prevent such problems in the future.

McCurdy said after the hearing that the documents sought are wide in scope and deal in many different ways with the disputed transaction. She said the date of Hollister’s deposition is still uncertain because it will be conducted by the singer’s lead attorney, Eric Rowen, who was not in court.


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