Katy Perry refuses to back down in fight over $15 million California mansion

1-800-Flowers founder says he was on painkillers at the time of deal

The $15 million house in Montecito, California, owned by the founder of 1-800-Flowers and home to Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt, seemed ideal for Katy Perry.

However, the eight-bedroom, eleven-bathroom estate on nearly nine verdant acres in the sun-kissed Santa Ynez foothills has landed Perry and her partner, Orlando Bloom, in a real estate dispute.

The trial begins on Wednesday at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles. The estate will be divided between Perry and Carl Westcott, the former private equity manager and serial entrepreneur who founded 1-800-Flowers. Westcott claims he did not want to sell his house and was not in good mental health when he signed the contract. Perry refused to back out of the deal and is expected to testify as soon as Friday.

The dispute provides insight into a botched real-estate transaction in Montecito, a chic enclave of about 10 square miles on the outskirts of Santa Barbara. The case is also the singer’s latest legal squabble as she seeks to expand her real estate holdings in Southern California.

Perry and Westcott appeared to be on the same page at first. The businessman, who paid $11.25 million for the property in May 2020, intended to sell it two months later for a quick profit. In July, he agreed to sell the property to Perry’s business manager, Bernie Gudvi, for $15 million.

Westcott, now 83 and, according to his son, in declining health, changed his mind as soon as the deal was completed. He claimed he’d been on painkillers following major surgery and wasn’t in a position to sign a contract. He stated that all he desired was to spend the rest of his life on the estate.

“He wanted to die in the house,” Chart Westcott, Westcott’s son, said in an interview.

Perry’s camp refused to budge. As a result, Westcott filed a lawsuit against Gudvi, the business manager, seeking to cancel the sale agreement. Perry, for one, wants the sale to go ahead. She is suing Westcott for $1.4 million in lost income from renting out the property if the sale had gone through as planned. The estate will be decided by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis Kin.

Requests for comment from Perry and Gudvi were not returned.

This isn’t Perry’s first run-in with real estate problems. She paid $15 million for a former Catholic convent in Los Angeles in 2015, despite the objections of the nuns who once lived there. The nuns attempted to sell the property to someone else. After a judge ruled in Perry’s favor, the nun’s buyer was forced to pay Perry millions in damages and eventually declared bankruptcy. One of the nuns involved in the case collapsed and died during a court hearing in the bankruptcy proceedings.

In the current dispute, Perry’s camp claims Carl Westcott knew exactly what he was doing and stood to profit handsomely from the sale. Lawyers for Gudvi claim in court filings that Westcott expressed interest in selling the estate and scheduled a tour for another potential buyer as early as July 8, 2020 – two days before he had spine surgery.

“He 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,” Gudvi’s lawyers wrote in a court filing seeking dismissal in May 2022.

On July 14, four days after Westcott’s scheduled surgery, Gudvi offered to buy the property for $13.5 million on behalf of Perry. According to Gudvi’s lawyers, Westcott arranged for Perry to tour the property before submitting a counteroffer for $15 million. Perry agreed.

Westcott didn’t tell his real-estate broker he’d changed his mind until two days after signing a Residential Sales Agreement. However, nothing has changed in Perry’s case.

Chart Westcott stated that his father’s health is deteriorating. According to medical records submitted in court filings, he was admitted to a full-time medical facility in mid-2021, struggling with his mental health and exhibiting signs of early dementia. He also had Huntington’s tremors, a rare, inherited neurological disease that impairs a person’s functional abilities.

“It’s not a fight I chose, but one I sadly inherited,” said Chart Westcott, who has taken over the case as his father’s power of attorney. Fighting in court an international pop sensation is “certainly not something I had on my lifetime bingo card.”

Attempts at mediation have been futile. When his father was first admitted to full-time care, Chart Westcott said he offered to pay Gudvi and Perry to leave. He stated that they declined.

Westcott is outraged by how the Perry camp has handled the situation. At this point, he stated that he would be hard pressed to accept any price Perry was willing to pay.

“Does everything in the world have a cost?” “Yeah,” Westcott agreed. “But is ours ridiculously high because of our outrage at how we’ve been treated?” Yes.”

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