The following comes from a June 29 Los Angeles Times article by Steve Lopez:
Here’s a line I never thought I’d have the pleasure of writing:
Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez is sparring with elderly Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary over the pending sale of the nuns’ former convent in Los Feliz to international superstar singer Katy Perry.
At the center of the dispute is an argument over who has the legal right to sell the spectacular villa-style hilltop spread, which covers several acres and offers million-dollar views of downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains. Legal briefs were flying Friday evening as I wrote this.
At least two of the last five living sisters of the Immaculate Heart insist the property is theirs, and only they can sell it. So they did, for roughly $15.5 million, quickly signing the property over two weeks ago to local restaurateur Dana Hollister, before the archdiocese could complete its deal with Katy Perry.
The diocese, meanwhile, says sorry, sisters, but only Gomez can sell the property, and Perry is his choice, so Hollister better not hang any paintings just yet.
The archdiocese is completing the paperwork on the sale to Perry, who has agreed to pay about $14.5 million, all of it in cash. The mega-rich hit-producing singer reportedly got interested in the property three years ago and has been determined to make it her home.
Perry seems to have given her all in going after the property, and tried to make a good impression on the nuns at a recent meeting. I’m told that Perry dressed rather conservatively, and according to two of the sisters, she sang “Oh Happy Day” for them and showed them a “Jesus” tattoo on her wrist area.
The nuns shrugged, and there have been no happy days since. Just lots of accusations, disagreements and legal filings. Lawyers can’t even agree on who represents the nuns.
What I can tell you for sure is that the diocese has sued Hollister, hoping to have her purchase voided, and last week a court order allowed Perry to visit the property with her architect.
Decades ago, 52 Immaculate Heart sisters lived on the property, which includes the Cardinal Timothy Manning House of Prayer for Priests. But the diocese moved the last of them to other locations in 2011, against their will, according to Sister Catherine Rose.
They are still not happy about that, nor are they happy about the way they are being treated. They pooled their money and bought the property decades ago at a discount from a benefactor, and their biggest fear is that if the diocese cashes in on a sale, the sisters’ living expenses will not be covered. The archdiocese insists that’s not the case at all, but sisters Rita and Catherine Rose don’t trust that promise.
The sisters said they have met with Gomez to argue their case. They say that at one point, the archbishop seemed exasperated and told them to proceed as they wished and let him know when they came to a decision about the property.
So they decided to sell, but say they couldn’t get the archbishop’s attention when they tried to tell him — maybe because he was busy closing the deal with Perry.
The nuns knew the archbishop had lined up a buyer who was supposed to be a famous performer, but the name didn’t mean anything to the sisters, who range in age from 77 to 88.
Perry Como, yes; Katy Perry, no. So Sister Rita did a little research on the Internet.
“Well, I found Katy Perry and I found her videos and … if it’s all right to say, I wasn’t happy with any of it,” said Sister Rita, who told me she would rather not elaborate on her concerns as to whether Perry is a suitable candidate to live in a convent.
When Sister Rita learned that Perry would be performing during the Super Bowl halftime, she tuned in. Perry sang “Teenage Dream,” (Let you put your hands on me. In my skin-tight jeans.) which was not a good choice, given Sister Rita’s careful monitoring of the show. Sister Rita then watched as Perry was lifted off the ground and flew around the stadium as if riding a shooting star.
“I thought, is that a way to make money?” said Sister Rita. “Maybe I could fly around. I could be the flying nun.”