A Los Angeles jury Friday found that restaurant owner Dana Hollister intentionally interfered with singer Katy Perry’s attempts to purchase a former convent from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Perry’s drawn-out legal fight to buy the Los Feliz property was partly settled earlier this year when a judge ruled that the right to sell the property lay with the archdiocese, not the nuns who used to live there and who opposed the sale to the pop star.
According to the jury, Hollister deliberately tried to thwart that sale when she purchased the property from two nuns. The jury awarded the archdiocese $3.47 million in attorney fees and Perry’s company, Bird Nest LLC, $1.57 million in fees.
The jury also found that Hollister acted with malice, oppression or fraud, meaning a second phase of the trial will begin next month to determine if the singer and the church should be awarded punitive damages.
Among other snags, the nuns never got permission from the Vatican before selling to Hollister, Bowick ruled. In Los Angeles, the sale of any property for more than $7,500,000 would require permission from the Vatican, according to canon law.
“The pope did not consent to the sale of the property to Hollister and there was no written approval from the Holy See or the archbishop,” Bowick wrote.
Archdiocese lawyer Kirk Dillman argued during closing arguments that Hollister wanted to prevent Perry from buying the property and kick off a legal fight “to wear down” the church in the hopes the singer would back out of the deal.
“There is no question that Dana Hollister knew what she did was wrong and willfully did it anyway,” Dillman said.
Dillman also argued that Hollister should have known the church and the pope had final say on who would get the property.
“It is not nice to mess with the Holy See and that was what she was doing,” he said.
Full story at The LA Times.