A judge said Friday that despite a stay issued by an appellate court regarding her April decision that appeared to clear the way for the sale of a former Los Feliz convent to Katy Perry, she is still enforcing an order that business records related to the future comfort and care of the sisters be turned over to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick said she did not receive a satisfactory response from attorney John Scholnick, on behalf of Sisters Rita Callanan and Catherine Rose Holzman, when she asked what is holding up the order concerning the records that she previously issued. Callanan and Holzman oppose the acquisition of the convent by the “Roar” singer.
The sisters tried to sell the convent to businesswoman Dana Hollister, but Bowick blocked the sale in April. On Tuesday, a panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal issued a stay on Bowick’s April orders after receiving a petition from the nuns’ attorneys.
But Bowick said she believes she is not running afoul of the appellate court’s stay by reiterating her order regarding the internal business records of the California Institute of the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She said Scholnick’s explanation today about the delay did not clear things up.
“I don’t feel I’m getting the answers I need,” Bowick said.
Scholnick said the nuns have control of the records, not him.
“I do not know where these things are,” Scholnick said.
Bowick postponed today’s scheduled hearing on whether she should hold Scholnick in contempt for his alleged non-compliance with the turnover order, but said she will move forward with taking testimony on a later date. She denied a request by Scholnick’s attorney, Gary Lincenberg, to abandon the contempt hearing.
Callanan and Holzman are two of five members of the institute. The documents and other items sought by the archdiocese having nothing to do with the sale, but instead include institute books, records and accounts needed to see that the nuns receive proper care, archdiocese attorney J. Michael Hennigan said.
“We need to understand the economic life of the institute,” Hennigan said.
Hennigan said in court that he received an email from one of the nuns stating that she intended to produce the information ordered. He said he believes Scholnick and the sisters were acting “in concert” in disobeying the records production order.
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, Hennigan said.
—City News Service