The One That Got Away: Inside Katy Perry’s Fight Over a $15 Million Montecito Estate

The One That Got Away: Inside Katy Perry’s Fight Over a  Million Montecito Estate
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In October 2020, Katy Perry paid $14.2 million for a hillside estate in Montecito, the seaside enclave that has long been considered one of California‘s poshest neighborhoods. The purchase was widely reported, and the pop star and her fiancée Orlando Bloom promptly made the 9-acre compound their main residence.

What went unreported at the time was that Perry’s scenic new estate was not the property she had really wanted to buy. Back in July 2020, court records now show, and following an extensive house hunt, the “California Gurl” entered into an agreement to pay $15 million for a different Montecito estate, this one significantly smaller but also much closer to Montecito’s trendy downtown area than the other. But what initially seemed a clear-cut transaction has since devolved into a messy three years of legal wrangling and lurid allegations.

In 2020, amid the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, wealthy residents from Los Angeles, San Francisco and other major cities fled to peaceful Montecito, sending real estate prices skyrocketing. In May 2020, Dallas-based entrepreneur Carl Westcott — the founder of 1-800-Flowers — paid $11.3 million for a 2.5-acre property sitting just a few doors away from Oprah Winfrey’s storied “Promised Land” complex.

Within a month of his purchase, Westcott was approached by multiple parties who were interested in buying his new home. One of them was Maria Shriver, who offered $13 million for the nearly 10,000 square foot house, which sports eight bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. Facing competition, California’s former First Lady subsequently upped her offer to $13.5 million. But Shriver was ultimately outbid by Perry, who ponied up the $15 million now in dispute. On July 14, 2020, Westcott signed the agreement to sell the house for $3.7 million more than he had paid less than two months prior.

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Almost immediately, Westcott appears to have had second thoughts about the deal. On July 22, 2020, according to a deposition, the 84-year-old contacted his real estate agent and asked about cancelling the contract, citing capital gains taxes and his girlfriend’s reluctance to move again. Two days later, an attorney hired by Perry’s business manager contacted Westcott, informing him that Perry and Bloom still wanted to buy the house and reminding him of his contractual obligation to complete the sale.

In August 2020, Westcott sued Perry’s business manager, claiming through his attorneys that the real estate contract should be voided because “the combination of age, frailty from his back condition and recent surgery, and the opiates he was taking several times a day rendered [Westcott] of unsound mind.”

Perry promptly countersued Westcott for millions in damages and has scoffed at his claims, noting that “[Westcott] was competent when he hired an experienced real estate broker, vetted the brokerage commission rate, arranged showings of the property, entertained multiple offers, sought alternative houses, and ultimately negotiated a highly lucrative sale.”

For now, the Montecito estate’s property title remains in Westcott’s name, though the high-maintenance estate has reportedly been left vacant as the three-plus-year legal battle unfolded. In any case, a judicial decision on the matter could finally be reached as soon as November; the two sides are currently battling it out in a Los Angeles courtroom.

And for whatever reason, this is not the first time Perry has faced a dispute with elderly people over pricey real estate. Back in 2014, Perry was involved in another legal tussle with several nuns after the local Archdiocese accepted her $14.5 million offer for a 22,000-square-foot convent in Los Angeles, which the singer intended to convert into a single-family home. Perry won that battle after years of wrangling, but ultimately lost interest in the property and declined to complete her purchase.

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