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Judge ends depositions in suit over former convent

LOS ANGELES — A judge said Dec. 6 she will not allow lawyers for two nuns who oppose Katy Perry’s purchase of a onetime convent in Los Feliz to take more depositions as part of their opposition to upcoming motions that could clear the way for a second time for the “Roar” singer to buy the property.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick said none of the eight people within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles that the attorneys representing Sisters Rita Callanan and Catherine Rose Holzman propose to depose are likely to provide new information that could not have been gleaned from previous deponents.

“I just feel like we’re going around in circles,” Bowick said.

Callanan and Holzman maintain they had authority to sell the Waverly Drive property to businesswoman Dana Hollister in 2015. Randy Snyder, a lawyer for Hollister, had joined with the nuns’ lawyers in seeking additional depositions.

The archdiocese maintains the archbishop’s approval was required before the former convent could be sold.

Lawyers for the archdiocese and Perry’s company, The Bird Nest LLC, have filed separate motions that could result in Perry being able to purchase the property. Bowick rescheduled the hearing from Dec. 15 to Feb. 27.

The judge also said she will not set a hearing on whether one of the nuns’ lawyers, John Scholnick, should be held in contempt for allegedly failing to turn over documents sought by the archdiocese related to the comfort and care of the sisters of the California Institute of the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Callanan and Holzman are among five nuns who are members of the institute and the only ones who are against the purchase of their former home by Perry.

The archdiocese, which wants to sell the property to Perry, started the litigation by filing suit against Hollister in June 2015, stating that Hollister is considering using the property for a boutique hotel with a restaurant and bar. Callanan and Holzman later joined the litigation as intervenors and Perry, through The Bird Nest, did so via a cross-complaint.

The proposed sale to Perry would be for $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. In contrast, Hollister paid only $44,000 and agreed to a contingent promissory note, archdiocese attorney J. Michael Hennigan said.

In April, Bowick granted motions by the archdiocese and Bird Nest that appeared to cancel the convent’s sale to Hollister and make it possible for Perry to acquire the property. The judge said the sisters needed the approval of the archbishop to sell the convent.

However, the nuns sought a ruling from the 2nd District Court of Appeal directing Bowick to reverse those orders.

In September, the appellate court chose not to reverse Bowick. But the judge did set aside her April rulings to allow additional fact-finding by lawyers for Hollister and the nuns in the wake of the announced intentions by lawyers for the archdiocese and Bird Nest attorneys to file motions aimed at once again enabling the sale to Perry.

 

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