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Judge: Nobody, Not Even Katy Perry, Gets Dream Convent For Now

The Los Feliz convent everyone's fighting over (Photo by Michael Locke via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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A judge has said that neither Katy Perry nor local restauranteur Dana Hollister can own a former Los Feliz convent, at least for now. But they may be able to rent it.

Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant said today that the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary may have improperly sold their convent to Hollister (who owns Villains Tavern, 4100 Club, Cliff's Edge and Brite Spot). And at the same time the judge has also blocked the Archdiocese of L.A. from selling the estate to Katy Perry, their preferred buyer for now. In a preliminary ruling, the judge says that Hollister's purchase is invalid and plans to enter a new preliminary injunction that would bar the nuns from completing the sale. He also ordered Hollister to pay $25,000 a month to support the nuns while the dispute is addressed, according to the Associated Press. At the same time, Chalfant has also denied church officials and the Roar singer access to the property during the dispute, which he says could take months, if not years, to resolve.

While putting a hold on both potential sales, however, Chalfant was reluctant to let the property sit vacant while the issue is addressed at a hearing he set for September 15. The judge invited both Hollister and Perry to make competing proposals to rent out the convent until the issue is settled, according to the N.Y. Times.

In June, two of the nuns who formerly resided at the beautiful 8-acre estate, sold the property to Hollister, preferring the deal over the Archbishop Jose H. Gomez's plan to sell to Perry. But, Chalfant contends that church law governs the sale of the convent, not civil law, and that the nuns did not properly follow their own rules when they agreed to sell the property to the restauranteur, who has plans to turn the property into a boutique hotel and restaurant. But, because Hollister has already registered a deed for the property, sale of the property to Perry cannot go forward either.

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"There is no doubt in my mind sale to defendant Hollister was improper and invalid," Chalfant explained in the ruling Thursday. But he also went on to tell the archbishop's lawyers, "You're not selling to Katy Perry anytime soon."

A lawyer for the sisters argued that it was unfair to let church laws govern the sale instead of civil laws. Chalfant, however, explains that, "This is a problem for the sisters because they don't trust the archdiocese."

Hollister attended the court hearing along with the two nuns, one of whom apparently held her hand over her mouth while listening to Chalfant's ruling, according to the AP. While Perry did not attend the hearing, her lawyers were present.

The judge ordered Hollister to remove any "armed guards" from the property. Hollister already began to clean and restore the Los Feliz property, but stopped work after she was sued by the archbishop.

Perry's bid to purchase the convent would still require Vatican approval, should the court rule in her favor, and she has also already offered to pay rent on the property while the case is litigated.

Considering the archdiocese has previously accused Hollister of swindling the nuns, and another nun claims that her signature was forged to block sale of the convent to Perry, there's a good chance this battle could continue to get ugly before any agreement is reached.

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