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Real estate dispute involving Catholic nuns and pop singer

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2017 | Real Estate Litigation

A group of nuns recently lost their legal effort to prevent pop singer Katy Perry from buying their former convent. After this last ruling, the singer is now one step closer to being able to move into the beautiful property, something she has been trying to do since 2015.

The property includes fountains, several buildings and a church. Through her limited liability company (LLC), Perry first offered to pay $14.5 million for the eight-acre estate to turn it into her private residence in Los Angeles.

Details of a sale gone wrong

But before she could go into escrow, the following things occurred that delayed the timely transfer of the property into her possession:

  • Two nuns from the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary made a quick deal with another private buyer.
  • The sale to the second buyer closed quickly to prevent the sale by the archdiocese to Perry.
  • The closed sale of the property did not have the necessary written approval from either the L.A. archdiocese or the pope, ultimately rendering it an invalid transaction.

A Los Angeles Superior Court ruled against the nuns, yet the local archdiocese says that this is ultimately the best outcome for them. While this interesting case did technically pit the nuns against the archdiocese, the voided transaction came with only a small initial payment.

The second buyer initially paid the nuns $44,000 and signed a promissory note for the rest, about $9 million. According to details known about the case and the terms of the contract, the invalid sale did not necessarily guarantee that the sisters would have ever received the rest of the amount owed.

How you can avoid similar complications

It is not every day that a dispute over a real estate transaction involves a group of nuns and a well-known pop star, but this case underlines the importance of working closely with an attorney to avoid similar complications. You or your business would be wise to approach the purchase and sale of valuable and complex properties only with qualified legal guidance and protective contractual provisions.

A careful drafting and review of any contract is a positive effort toward avoiding disputes and legal complications that may prevent you from reaching your legal objectives.