An attorney for a businesswoman who was in competition with Katy Perry to buy a former convent in Los Feliz until a judge nixed her effort claims that newly discovered Vatican letters demonstrate an attempt by the archdiocese to hide facts from the court and all parties involved.
Lawyer Randy Snyder, on behalf of restaurant owner Dana Hollister, states in court papers filed Tuesday that the two letters support claims by Sisters Rita Callanan and Catherine Rose Holzman that the entire dispute is still unresolved in Rome and that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick should rethink her decision to block Hollister’s acquisition of the property.
Callanan and Holzman, who tried to sell the convent to Hollister, do not want it sold to the 31-year-old singer.
“While counsel for (the archdiocese) in this case is fond of words like outrageous and incredible, as it turns out these are words which are most appropriately applied to the attempt by (the archdiocese) to cover up proceedings which are pending before the Vatican in Rome and further attempts to hide these facts from the courts,” Snyder states in his court papers.
A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles archdiocese did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Attached to Snyder’s court papers are a March 22 letter sent to the archdiocese and a March 30 correspondence addressed to the two nuns.
“Once all the information from both parties has been adequately studied, we will inform you of our judgment regarding the matter at hand,” states the March 30 letter, which is signed by Father Sebastiano Paciolla, identified in the document as a Vatican undersecretary.
Snyder argues in his court papers that both letters make it “manifestly clear that the courts of the Roman Catholic Church are reviewing disputes which directly impact the matters to be resolved in this case.”
“If these letters exist, what other documentation exists and what other matters have been covered up?” Snyder wrote.
Snyder further contends that the nuns did not know of the March 30 letter addressed to them until Tuesday, the same day he says he received an email about both communications from Margaret Cone, one of the nuns’ lawyers. He said he then spoke with Gianluca Benedetti, the attorney representing the nuns in Italy.
“At that time, Mr. Benedetti informed me that he had obtained copies of these letters from his contacts at the Vatican in Rome,” Snyder wrote.
Snyder further states in his court documents that while it is uncertain what happened to the March 30 Vatican correspondence to the sisters, Benedetti told him that Rome sends all correspondence to the U.S. by diplomatic pouch to the archdiocese.
“The archdiocese would then be charged with delivering such a letter to the sisters,” Snyder wrote. “This raises the question as to why this letter was never received by the sisters.”
Snyder’s court papers were filed in support of the nuns’ attorneys bid for reconsideration of Bowick’s ruling stopping the sale to Hollister. A hearing is scheduled for May 24.
The proposed sale to Perry would be for $14.5 million, consisting of $10 million in cash and an agreement to provide an alternative property for the house of prayer worth $4.5 million, according to the archdiocese. In contrast, Hollister paid only $44,000 and agreed to a contingent promissory note, according to the archdiocese.
Callanan and Holzman are two of five members of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary and are the only sisters who favored the sale to Hollister.
— Wire reports