Singer Katy Perry has won a multi-million dollar payout after a jury ruled a developer acted with malice in blocking the sale of a convent.
Ms Perry first tried to buy the Los Feliz convent from the Archbishop in Los Angeles in 2015, but before the sale was finalised, two of the five sisters from the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) who claimed ownership, sold to a local developer, Dana Hollister.
The LA archdiocese sued the sisters, who said only they had the right to sell it, despite not living there since 2011, and won.
They also said Ms Hollister’s actions prevented the sale to Ms Perry, who had offered $14.5m.
A jury agreed with Ms Perry and the Catholic Church that Ms Hollister had acted with malice, and awarded $10m to the parties, which will be split with one-third going to the singer and two-thirds to the church.
In a statement from the archdiocese, to the Angulus website, the church explained it took action because Ms Hollister had paid $44,000 for the property, and they felt the sisters had been taken advantage of.
The archdiocese statement adds: “Hollister’s actions left the IHM Sisters with almost nothing for their property, while she took possession of their former convent to prevent the sale of the property to singer Katy Perry who had presented a cash offer for $14.5m for the Waverly property and a replacement for the House of Prayer of Priests.
“The proceeds from any sale of the property will be for the IHM Institute to be used for the care and well-being of all five remaining Sisters.
“Hollister knowingly took advantage of two of the elderly sisters which jeopardised the future health and well-being of all IHM Sisters.
“The archdiocese and counsel for Ms Perry were in court seeking a just resolution in the best interest of all the five remaining IHM Sisters and to hold Hollister accountable for damages and legal fees.”
Ms Hollister’s offer did not guarantee the sisters would ever receive more money.
One of the sisters, Rita Callanan, told the LA Times that she had sought a different buyer for the convent when she had seen Ms Perry’s music videos.
She said: “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.”
Eric Rowen of Greenberg Traurig LLP told Billboard this week: “Katy is extremely pleased with the jury’s insight and understanding, and is hopeful that the jury’s decision will pave the way for her to complete the purchase of the Waverly property without further interference.
“For my part, I am very satisfied with the jury’s decision and believe that justice has been well served.”