One of the strangest property battles in Los Angeles got a little closer to resolution Friday, when a jury awarded a combined $5 million in legal fees to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles and pop star Katy Perry after a protracted battle over the sale of a Los Feliz convent.
On the hook for all that money? Designer and entrepreneur Dana Hollister (owner of Echo Park’s Brite Spot Diner), who attempted to interfere with the sale of the property to Perry, according to the jury’s decision.
A group of elderly nuns who had been given the Bernard Maybeck-designed residence in 1972 tried to sell it to Hollister as the Archdiocese was working out the terms of a sale to Perry, who planned to share the home with her mother and grandmother.
A Superior Court decision earlier this year cleared the way for Perry to finally buy the home, finding that the right to sell the property lay with the Archdiocese—and not the nuns.
But the legal fight over the sale proved costly for Perry; last week, her business manager said she had spent more than $2.6 million on lawyers’ fees. On Friday, the jury ordered Hollister to reimburse more than $1.5 million of that total.
That might not be all that Hollister has to pay; a separate trial set to begin in December will determine whether punitive damages should be awarded to Perry and the church.
But when can Perry move in? According to the Los Angeles Times, the singer is still working out terms of a deal to buy the former convent, built in 1927 as the private residence of early broadcasting mogul Earle C. Anthony.
To make the sale go through, Perry will have to provide the church with a new retreat for priests. The singer was close to buying an Eagle Rock mansion that would have served that purpose, but the sale fell through earlier this year.