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One of Silver Lake’s wealthiest women suffers a costly legal defeat over a former convent

The Los Feliz convent that Silver Lake’s Dana Hollister wanted to buy

SILVER LAKE — A jury ordered Silver Lake businesswoman Dana Hollister to pay about $10 million in punitive damages  for interfering with the sale of a former Los Feliz convent to pop star Katy Perry, several media outlets reported today. The punitive damages are in addition to the estimated $5 million in compensatory damages Hollister was ordered to pay last month by the same jury.

The jury had decided last month that Hollister, owner of Cliff’s Edge in Silver Lake, “acted with malice, oppression or fraud” for undermining the sale of the of the former convent on Waverly Drive by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to Perry. 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.

Hollister owns several restaurants and real estate, including a 1920s-era Silver Lake estate and a former church that she wants to convert into a boutique hotel. But the $15 million in damages would dwarf  Hollister’s wealth.

Her attorney has said that Hollister’s assets total about $4 million, according to a City News Service story in the L.A. Times. However, according to Courthouse News, Hollister listed her net worth at near $16 million in a 2014 loan application.

During court testimony last week, Hollister downplayed her wealth, with her attorney saying she had no stocks, mutual or retirement funds.  “She lives in the stables of one of her properties, in what her attorney called modest means,” said Courthouse News.

The 57-year-old Hollister amassed her wealth over the past three decades from businesses that 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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