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Nuns win legal round in sale of former convent

LOS ANGELES — Two nuns who oppose the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ effort to sell a former convent in Los Feliz to singer Katy Perry won a round in court when a judge vacated her previous rulings that appeared to clear the way for the singer to acquire the property.

On May 2, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick declared void the sale of the property to businesswoman Dana Hollister by Sisters Rita Callanan and Catherine Rose Holzman of the California Institute of the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Bowick found that the nuns needed the approval of the archbishop to make the transaction.

However, on Sept. 23, a panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal found that Bowick abused her discretion by not allowing the nuns’ lawyers the time and opportunity to gather information prior to a hearing on the issues. So, Bowick set aside her May orders during a hearing Sept. 29 and set a status conference for Oct. 21.

At the Sept. 29 court hearing, “all parties were supportive of Judge Bowick’s decision to set aside her May order so that expedited discovery may proceed and this matter may be concluded,” a statement issued by the archdiocese said.

“The archdiocese intends to renew its motion for summary judgment. The main concern of the archdiocese is and has always been the care and well-being of all the … sisters.

“The archdiocese was forced to take legal action on behalf of all the sisters when developer Dana Hollister took possession of their property without proper authorization for just $44,000 and a contingent promissory note without any guarantee that the sisters would ever receive any additional payment.

“The archdiocese is acting in the best interests of all five sisters and will request that the court hold the lawyers and Hollister accountable for continuing to take advantage of the sisters.”

Callanan and Holzman used to live at the convent and are among five members of the nuns’ institute. The pair tried to sell the convent to Hollister, but Bowick’s May orders blocked that attempt. Shortly after the two nuns’ attorneys filed their court papers, the Court of Appeal issued a stay on Bowick’s orders.

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 $44,000 and agreed to a contingent promissory note, according to the archdiocese.

 

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