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Woman Swindled Nuns Into Selling Katy Perry's Dream Convent, Archdiocese Says

The contentious convent Katy Perry and restaurateur Dana Hollister are fighting over (Photo by Michael Locke via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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The archdiocese who wants to sell a former Los Feliz convent to Katy Perry is claiming that restaurateur Dana Hollister took advantage of the nuns who lived in the convent to sell it to her instead.

Attorneys for the Archdiocese of L.A. are attempting to strike down the deal made between Hollister and the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, claiming that the restaurateur (who owns Villains Tavern, 4100 Club, Cliff's Edge and Brite Spot) tried to swindle the vulnerable nuns in her deal with them over the Los Feliz convent.

The archdiocese, who sees a more favorable deal with Perry, argues that Hollister paid "just $44,000" of the $10 million purchase price, the rest of which she doesn't have to pay until July 1, 2018, according to City News Service. The court papers, filed on Friday, allege that Hollister knew the elderly nuns were in a “fragile financial condition,” and that “the transaction should be declared void as a product of elder abuse.” The attorneys for the archdiocese also say, “It appears that it was ideal for Hollister, but terrible for the sisters and the institute.” Earlier this month, one of the other sisters who formerly lived in the convent, came forward claiming that someone had forged her signature in the Hollister deal.

The newly-filed papers are part of an ongoing suit, filed June 19, arguing that the archdiocese still has a lease on the property's buildings for the priests’ house of prayer for 77 more years, and that terminating that lease can't happen without their approval. They claim that Hollister, who plans to turn the property into a boutique hotel with a restaurant and bar, struck an illegitimate deal with two of the nuns who once resided in the convent. Hollister, for her part, has argued that the deal is more favorable to the nuns, and already started moving into the property. The court papers say that, “Hollister admitted that she knew the prior written approval of the Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles was required,” but went ahead with the purchase nonetheless.

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The archdiocese already filed a restraining order so that Hollister would be forced to let archdiocese officials and their attorneys to enter the property. The new papers are part of an effort to prohibit Hollister from occupying the property and from interfering with the archdiocese's efforts to sell the property to Perry. The proposed sale to the Roar singer would go for $14.5 million, including $10 million in cash and an agreement to provide an alternative property for the house of prayer worth $4.5 million.

Hollister and the nuns, meanwhile, aren't sitting by quietly. Two of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary filed for a temporary restraining order against the archdiocese, earlier this month. The sisters’ attorneys argue that the archdiocese didn't attempt to establish legal control over the order's nonprofit institute until June and that the move was illegal. The sisters disapproved of the proposed sale to Perry because of her "public image," so they went ahead with a deal to sell to Hollister. They claim that they tried to present a proposal for the sale to Archbishop Jose Gomez, but that he refused to meet with them.

The new court papers filed by the archdiocese claim that the Hollister deal could spell trouble for the institute for the Sisters of the Immaculate heart, unless action is taken soon. The papers say, “Although her deed is flawed, (Hollister) has possession and has recorded the deed so that title is now clouded and no legitimate transaction can move forward. The institute may well run out of funds before this matter can be resolved.”