Back in the middle of 2020, Katy Perry bought an absolutely stunning property in Montecito, California. The 9,000 square foot home, which sits on 2.5 acres, has 8 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, an enormous lawn, gorgeous raised infinity pool, guest cottages, walk-in wine cellar… and much more. At the time of the sale, the purchase price was widely reported to be $14 million, but real estate records today show the final purchase price was $11.25 million with an exact closing date of May 29, 2020.
If you recall, May 2020 was still extremely early in the pandemic. Suburban property values in places exactly like Montecito had not yet exploded. Today this mansion is easily worth closer to $20 million.
And perhaps that’s why the seller… FROM THREE YEARS AGO… is having a serious case of seller’s remorse.
Court filings recently revealed that the seller of the home, an 83-year-old named Carl Westcott, is suing both Perry and her fiancé Orlando Bloom (they became engaged a month after the mansion was purchased and are still not legally married). Westcott earned his fortune as the founder of companies like 1-800-Flowers, among others.
Westcott himself appears to have purchased the home in January 2012 for $9.3 million. He listed it for rent a number of times over the ensuing years, for as much as $99,000 PER MONTH. He first decided to test the sale waters in the middle of 2018 with a June 2018 list price of $19.5 million. In October he lowered the price to $17.5 million. He offered it for rent for $49,000 per month for a while before re-listing in March 2019 for $16.5 million. He chopped $1 million off the price two weeks later. He dropped the price to $12.95 million in September 2019… removed the listing… offered it for rent…then re-listed in April 2020 for $12.95 million again. A month later the home sold to Katy Perry for $11.25 million.
Here’s the issue:
Westcott claims he had “impaired mental faculties” when the sale was inked, and therefore the ownership should be returned. Westcott claims he was under the influence of opioids and other painkillers following an operation on his back at the time he signed the agreement to sell his home to Perry. From the legal complaint:
“Upon discharge from the hospital, Mr. Westcott was prescribed at least two opiates in pill form that he was to continue taking for pain, which he took as prescribed several times each day. The combination of his age, frailty from his back condition and recent surgery, and the opiates he was taking several times a day rendered Mr. Westcott of unsound mind.”
A few days after the contract was signed, Westcott reportedly contacted the agent at Berkshire Hathaway who was representing both sides in the deal and tried to get the contract nullified, citing his advanced age and health problems as reasons he was actually unable to sell his home. Two days later, the complaint states, he received a letter from attorneys representing Perry and Bloom:
“The letter advised Mr. Westcott that his clients Mr. Bloom and [Perry’s legal name] Ms. Hudson are not willing to walk away from purchasing Mr. Westcott’s home and he is obligated to complete the sale.”
What happened next will likely come out in court and in the press, but the lawsuit is only now being reported on, and the legal battle is said to be continued by Westcott’s family as he is now “permanently mentally incapacitated and bedridden.”
The trial began this week in a Santa Barbara courtroom. We’ll keep you posted on any outcomes.
Strangely, this is not Katy Perry’s first bizarre legal battle over a home purchase. Katy previously went to war against a group of nuns over her purchase of their 30,000 square foot convent set on 8 acres in an LA neighborhood called Los Feliz. In 2014 Katy secured a deal to purchase the convent for $14.5 million from the Los Angeles Archdiocese. The deal was to consist of $10 million in cash and $4.5 million in the form of another property for the three nuns who were occupying the property at the time.
Shortly thereafter, the three nuns who occupied the convent claimed they, a) had the right to sell the house, not the Archdiocese, and b) had reached a deal to sell the home to a different buyer for a slightly higher amount, with the money going to their order, not the Archdiocese. The dispute dragged on for years. One of the nuns actually collapsed AND DIED of a heart attack in the courtroom!
In the end Katy was victorious and the other buyer was actually ordered to fork over $6.5 million in damages.