The Baba Chronicles

For some people, African millionaire Foutanga Dit Babani Sissoko was a dream come true. For others he was a nightmare.

Adds the younger Spencer: "In my opinion, she's only after money. She doesn't remember all the expensive jewelry she was given by Mr. Sissoko. She thinks she is entitled to millions and millions of dollars. She was just the girlfriend of Rene Dubois."

In August Adamek moved to Connecticut, where she has enrolled in a computer class with the hope of finding a job before too long. Time and distance have allowed her some perspective on her experiences with Sissoko. "I don't regret that I met these people," she says. "It was one of the most exciting times of my life. But I understand Baba better now. At first I thought he was like a god, but he is not. Now I see that this is a regular person who just knows how to operate people, work on their greed, and keep control of his power. He trusts too much in his mystique. When I realized this, I lost respect for him. I could have stayed like the others if I had been willing to play the game, but I couldn't. And I have a little bit more respect for myself now."

Others whose lives have been touched by Foutanga Dit Babani Sissoko are less conciliatory. Sally Ragsdale has hired an attorney and is considering a lawsuit to collect the money she says she is owed. Four weeks ago Jim Wilbert flew to Miami from Tennessee to meet with Sissoko in an unsuccessful effort to negotiate a settlement. His lawsuit is proceeding. "This is going to be fun when it goes to court," Wilbert says. T.K. Sanders, the pilot stranded in France, was fired last week after Sissoko learned he had cooperated in the preparation of this article. "They wanted to know how I could possibly say anything bad about Mr. Sissoko," Sanders laughs. "Shit, he has no one to blame for that but himself.

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