Property Rights Law Firm, P.A.

The real estate dispute involving the church and the pop singer

While the majority of real estate disputes fail to generate many headlines, there is currently one brewing in the state of California that has piqued the curiosity of people across the nation and even around the world.  

That's because the real estate dispute in question involves the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, a sprawling eight-acre estate in a highly desirable section of the city, the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and, of course, a world-famous pop star.

The dispute in questions centers around competing purchase agreements for the estate entered into between the nuns and L.A.-based developer and restaurateur Dana Hollister, and the archdiocese and singer Katy Perry.

According to reports, Perry's offer for the property was $10 million in cash plus an additional $4.5 million to help fund the cost of a retreat house to replace the loss of the one currently located on the property, which is frequently used by priests. The deal also dictated that the priests would be permitted to remain in the retreat house for two years while relocating and that the new retreat house would be owned by the nuns via a long-established institute.

In contrast, Hollister's offer for the property was $10 million in cash plus an additional $5.5 million to the archdiocese to cover the buyout of the long-term lease to which the retreat house was subject, if it so desired.

After meeting with Perry, three of the five remaining nuns of the order voted to sell her the property. However, the two holdouts, who also serve as officers of the order, decided instead to enter into a purchase agreement with Hollister.

Here, their rationale was twofold: first, Hollister has expressed an intention to keep the property open to the public and second, it would grant the nuns and their business manager greater control over the sales proceeds.

Since that time, the archdiocese has filed a motion in Los Angeles Superior Court, to be heard next week, seeking for an injunction to block the nuns proposed sale to Hollister and facilitate a sale to Perry.

Chief among the archdiocese's arguments is that the nuns lacked the authority to enter into a sales agreement with Hollister given that the institute holding the property is managed by an officer appointed by the archbishop, and that any sale of land worth more than $7.5 million requires Vatican approval, something that has not yet been granted.

Stay tuned for updates on this fascinating case …

If you find yourself embroiled in a real estate dispute, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options moving forward.

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