A jury today determined that Silver Lake businesswoman and restaurant owner Dana Hollister will have to pay $5 million in damages for interfering with the sale of a former Los Feliz convent to pop star Katy Perry, several media outlets reported. Hollister’s troubles could get even worse and more costly when the jury returns next month to decide if she needs to pay punitive damages.
The L.A. Times reports that the jury determined that Hollister, owner of Cliff’s Edge in Silver Lake, “acted with malice, oppression or fraud” for undermining the sale of the hilltop property on Waverly Drive by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to Perry.
Hollister’s attorney told the Times that case will likely be appealed.
Earlier this year a judge voided a deal between two members of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to sell the property to Hollister. The sale was blocked after the Catholic church said the sisters did not own or had the authority to sell the property, composed of several Mediterranean style buildings.
Courtroom loss follows business success
Hollister’s effort to buy the Los Feliz convent was one of the most ambitious challenges she has taken on over the years. Her career and businesses have ranged from interior design and retailing to restaurants and Silver Lake real estate.
In the late 1980s, in a bid to make extra cash, she dyed old table cloths and used them to make pillows that became a hit, says her website. At one point, Hollister’s pillows were selling for $850, said a December 2001 L.A. magazine story. By the 1990s, Hollister had turned those pillows into a thriving interior design firm and showroom — Odalisque — that became popular with Hollywood celebrities.
A decade later, she was busy buying property in Silver Lake and operating restaurants and bars: Cliff’s Edge and the 4100 Bar in Silver Lake, The Brite Spot in Echo Park and Villains Tavern in Downtown. In a 2007 West magazine story, Hollister says:
“When I first arrived in Silver Lake there wasn’t much to work with,” she says. “The only thing that moved in exactly the same day was Cafe Stella. And then about a year or two later, Eat Well came in … There we have Millie’s [diner], and then you have nothing. Not that it’s nothing–but it’s nothing really. I mean, you’ve got your dry cleaner, you’ve got your printer here, you had the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic, which was wonderful but definitely in disarray at that point, and now it’s pretty sparkly. This is still pretty much what old Silver Lake looked like. Now it’s become something very, very valuable.”
She lives in the 1920s-era Canfield-Moreno Estate, which had been transformed into a convent for Franciscan nuns by the time she bought the 22,000-square-foot mansion, which she renamed The Paramour.
Hollister apparently has a thing for religious properties. More than five years ago, she began working to convert the former Bethany Presbyterian Church in Silver Lake into a boutique hotel with restaurants and event spaces.
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