Katy Perry $15 Million Montecito Mansion War Closing Arguments

The battle over a coastal California mansion that pits superstar spouses Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom against an 84-year-old Texas millionaire is now in the hands of a Los Angeles judge after closing arguments Friday that gave vastly different narratives of the disputed deal.

Lawyers for entrepreneur Carl Westcott cast their client as a retired businessman long past his prime who was suffering from a degenerative brain disease, post-operative delirium from a six-hour back surgery, and the effects of heavy painkillers when he agreed to sell his house to the famous couple for
$15 million in July 2020.

Lawyers for Perry and Bloom’s camp, meanwhile, argued that a treasure trove of text messages, emails and witness testimony proves Westcott was alert and cognizant during 11 days of negotiations up through the final sale and his decision to renege days later. Westcott communicated with brokers, upped his price, scheduled tours, extended the deadline for Perry to respond and courted a rival bid from yet another high-profile interested buyer, Maria Shriver, they argued.

“He made series of consistent, highly rational decisions in July 2020, documented in 29 pages of texts going back and forth with his real estate broker, that ended with him receiving $15 million on house he paid $11.25 million for. That amounts to a 34 percent return on the purchase price,” Eric Rowen, the lawyer for Perry’s business manager, argued. “This was a deal that was rational, savvy and incredibly lucrative.”

When the breach of contract case first went to trial on Sept. 27, Perry faced backlash online for allegedly seeking to put an elderly man out of his home against his wishes.

Lawyers for Perry’s camp countered that Westcott purchased the stunning estate on May 29, 2020, just six weeks before signing his deal with Perry’s representative, Bernie Gudvi.

They said Westcott badgered his broker about when Perry’s initial offer was expected to land, rejected her initial $13.5 million pitch, signed a counteroffer for $15 million on July 15, 2020, actively organized Perry’s tour of his property on July 17, 2020, agreed to extend the deadline on his counteroffer when the initial deadline lapsed and criticized his agent for requesting a 5 percent commission. Gudvi signed the $15 million deal on behalf of Perry on July 18, 2020.

Two days later, Westcott texted his broker, “I want to rescind the contract.”

Now living back in Texas at a medical facility, Westcott did not attend the trial. His family and lawyers say he suffers from Huntington’s disease and “full-blown dementia” and requires round-the-clock care.

“Let’s face it, time finds all of us. He was an old man at the time this happened. He was no longer the person who in his 30s, 40s and 50s had founded companies and sold them. He was retired, he was ill with Huntington’s disease, he was diagnosed with cognitive incapacity, and he was living in California during lockdown with a woman half a century younger than him,” Westcott’s lawyer Andrew J. Thomas said in his closing.

Thomas argued Westcott was diagnosed with Huntington’s in 2015 and showed declines each year after that when he went for follow-up testing.

“His sons testified that there were dramatic changes in their dad’s behavior after 2015. There was impulsivity, risky behavior, there were drugs, there were women, he started taking on debt,” Thomas argued. “He started trading on margin accounts in the stock market, started making bad investments and he started losing money in stock market. All of that is consistent with Huntington’s disease… the poor decision-making and impulsive behavior.”

Los Angeles County Superior Judge Joseph Lipner presided over the bench trial and interrupted Thomas on Friday to point out that Westcott’s own neuropsychologist, Dr. Rebecca Goodman, said on the witness stand that she couldn’t say whether or not Westcott lacked capacity to sign the property deal because she wasn’t there and hadn’t treated him in 2020.

“What do you do with the fact that she could not say that he lacked capacity to enter into the contract? If she couldn’t say it, and she was a treating physician… how do you meet your burden to show that he lacked capacity?” Judge Lipner asked.

“We tie what she said to what the medical records show,” Thomas replied. “We connect those dots.”

The judge further needled Thomas over the fact that Westcott purchased the Montecito house in May 2020, had prospective buyers tour his Dallas home in July 2020, and finally sold his Dallas property in October 2020. He asked if Westcott lacked capacity for those transactions as well.

“Just a few weeks before, he entered into another complex, very expensive contract,” Judge Lipner said. “It’s a very persuasive point.”

Thomas argued Westcott was pre-disposed to impairment during that period due to his congnitive decline, but what really pushed him over the edge was his back surgery with general anesthesia on July 10, 2020 and the powerful painkillers he was taking afterward.

Dr. Gary Small testified as an expert witness for Westcott during the trial. He didn’t treat Westcott but said it was clear from his review of all the medical records that Westcott was suffering from impairment due to Huntington’s disease as well as dementia, post-operative delirium linked to the back surgery, and “polypharmacy” — meaning the use of multiple drugs.

The main medical expert who testified for Perry’s side called Dr. Small’s opinion “ludicrous.” He said Westcott was examined by two doctors leading up to his back surgery, and both found Westcott was able to knowingly consent to the serious medical procedure. The neurologist also said his review of Westcott’s text messages and emails between July 8 and July 22, 2020 led him to conclude the entrepreneur was not incapacitated.

“I can say with medical certainty there’s no reason to question the cognitive capacity of Mr. West with regard to the real estate transaction and contracts,” Dr. Daniel Thomas Franc, a neurologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Los Angeles, testified.

He said Westcott presided over a “bidding war” between Shriver and Perry, something that would be too sophisticated for someone who “lacked capacity.”

“I think this gets to the fact that he has an understanding of the parameters, in a broad sense, of this transaction,” Dr. Franc told Judge Joseph Lipner during the last day of testimony in the bench trial. “To imagine he could be delirious at this point is, frankly, ludicrous.”

In his closing argument Friday, Rowen said testimony from Westcott’s son Court Westcott was critical to the case. On the witness stand, Court said he spoke to his dad by phone in July 2020 and encouraged him to take the initial $13 million offer from Maria Shriver.

“(He) told his father, ‘Take the money, baby,’” Rowen said.

“I’m not sure why you think that’s helpful. If (Westcott) lacked capacity, who cares if his son wanted him to do the deal?” Judge Lipner asked.

Rowen said it was important because it showed Court Westcott “believed his dad had capacity and could sign a valid, binding contract.”

“He knows his dad. He’s listening to his dad,” Rowen argued. “And he says, ‘Do it dad.’ He doesn’t say, ‘Dad you don’t have capacity. You need help. You need to give up power of attorney.”

Judge Lipner previously said he expected to take several weeks to issue a ruling in the bench trial. If he decides in favor of Perry, the pop star is expected to testify about her damages at a second phase of the trial.

The sprawling nine-bedroom estate at the heart of the real estate war has languished empty for the last two years.

After agreeing to the now-disputed purchase, Perry and Bloom wrote a letter to Westcott on July 22, 2020, that made it clear they were eager to move in.


“We are writing this letter to you to express our appreciation with regard to your agreement to sell your property to us and to communicate our joy at being able to call it our home,” the letter attached as an exhibit to a prior filing said.

“As you know, we are expecting a baby next month and know that this will be the best place to bring her home to and raise her in. Though there were other properties that did interest us, yours will provide us the comfort of security, privacy, and safety. These three details are of the utmost importance to us and the reason we were willing to pay a premium and move forward on your property specifically,” they wrote.

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