The couple entered into a contract in 2020 to purchase the Santa Barbara-area home from Carl Westcott, an entrepreneur from Texas
Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom are caught up in a legal battle over a 1930s mansion in Montecito that has been the center of contention in a non-jury trial — which began on Wednesday and will continue until early next week — in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
The “Roar” pop star and her actor fiancé purchased the eight-bedroom and 11-bath estate in the Santa Barbara area in July 2020 for $15 million, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE. But only days after the deal was finalized, the owner, 83-year-old business entrepreneur Carl Westcott — who was diagnosed with a genetic brain disorder known as Huntington’s Disease in 2015— changed his mind.
Westcott, the founder of 1-800-Flowers, purchased the estate for $11.25 million as his permanent residence just two months before he sold it, as it was revealed in court. The sprawling 9,285-square-foot home sits on roughly 2.5 acres and has an infinity pool, jacuzzi, outdoor fireplace, kitchen area and a three-bedroom guesthouse that overlooks the ocean.
In October 2021, Westcott was transferred to a mental health facility in Dallas after a suicide attempt and his attorney stated in court that his client feared memory loss from his condition. Westcott is currently living at a facility for patients facing dementia and was not well enough to attend trial.
During opening statements on Wednesday, Westcott's attorney Andrew Thomas said that his client had been showing signs of "delusion" and "intrusive thoughts" after taking painkillers hydrocodone, gabapentin and tramadol when he sold his home on July 15. Five days before the sale, Westcott had spinal surgery on his back. According to attorney Thomas, the contract was presented to Westcott while he was residing in Dallas and was still recovering from "post-operative delirium."
"Mr. Carl H. Westcott’s family has been under enormous stress from this lawsuit and from their concern for the declining health of their father," Thomas said in a statement to PEOPLE on Aug. 16 before the trial was pushed back a month.
Westcott is former Real Housewives of Dallas reality star Kameron Westcott's father-in-law. She appeared at trial both days with her husband Court and other family members.
A week post-surgery, Westcott claimed he started to feel “mentally clear” and reached out to the brokerage representing the famous couple's business manager Bernie Gudvi via email, saying that he had not been in the right mind set to sign any binding contracts and that he wanted to avoid the sale all together, according to court documents.
During the defense's opening statements, Gudvi’s attorney Eric Rowan argued that Westcott's degenerative brain diagnosis had not impacted Westcott’s mental capacity — as his doctor saw him fit to consent to spinal surgery — and that he had also been recovering from the operation when he purchased the home six weeks prior in May 2020 without causing concern.
Rowan also claimed Westcott was not diagnosed with “mild mental incapacity” until a year later. "They are not going to prove anything or anywhere near what they said," Rowan said in court. He continued claiming that Westcott's mental capacity was "fabricated" and "fake."
According to Cristal Clarke, Westcott's real estate agent at Berkshire Hathaway, who testified on Thursday in court, Westcott decided to rescind his counter offer after Clarke informed him he could get far more money for it.
Initially, real estate agent Nate Smith, who represented Maria Shriver, expressed interest in the house for $13 million, and that the same day, Westcott countered the offer for $13.5 million, Clarke testified, adding that Westcott rescinded the offer hours later after she told him he could get more.
The following day, Westcott underwent surgery in Dallas, and Clarke allegedly called Perry’s real estate agent to let her know Westcott was willing to sell his home. The singer — who upped her initial offer of $13.5 million to $15 million — had viewed the property in the spring time before Westcott purchased it, and shortly after, she inquired about buying it from Westcott for almost $4 million over the original sale price, according to Clarke's testimony.
On July 12, 2020, two days after Westcott's operation, Clarke allegedly texted Westcott about the sale, saying, "I have good news for you," and then called him. Attorney Thomas argued that she took advantage of Westcott after surgery by not going over the terms and conditions of the contract with him.
Per Clarke's testimony, the singer "loved the home" after multiple visits with Bloom and her sister and wanted to move forward with the sale at a full asking price of $15 million. Clarke testified that Westcott was still open to Shriver moving in, but only if she matched the hefty price tag. In the end, Westcott signed a legal binding contract with the power couple.
The debate over the sale of the home will continue as Perry herself may take the stand in the coming days. In court papers obtained by PEOPLE, attorney Thomas claimed an email delivery of trial subpoenas were sent to Perry in July and August.
According to Clarke, Westcott and his younger girlfriend and caretaker Adelina Radeva viewed multiple properties in the area, but they weren't satisfied with any of the homes. Afterward, attorney Rowan claimed Westcott emailed Gudvi’s agent saying, “I have decided not to sell my home." However, the brokerage responded that he was legally bound, Clarke testified.
On Thursday, it was revealed that Perry wanted to raise a family in the home and reside there with their 3-year-old daughter, Daisy Dove. She is seeking damages of more than $5 million for allegedly missing out on income she and her fiancé could have received by renting out the property, as well as the cost of maintaining another property they own.
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