The Baba Chronicles

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

It wasn't long before Adamek was in for her own shocking surprises. After initially being swept away with Sissoko's lifestyle and prodigious spending, she increasingly saw its negative side. Sissoko, she came to realize, loved the attention his money inspired -- from the sycophants who hung on his every word to the women eager for a life of leisure. "There is always something going on sexually with Baba," Adamek reports. "This is accepted, this is the power of men. Baba always says woman is nothing, woman is a pleasure."

Sissoko has been fond of noting that he has four wives (as permitted by his Muslim faith) and that there are no other women in his life, an image bolstered by the Miami Herald's report that Sissoko refused a massage from a female masseuse because, as he put it, he can be touched only by his wives. (He gave the woman a $10,000 tip anyway.) Adamek says she was present when that incident occurred and that the only reason Sissoko did not accept the massage was that one of his wives walked into the room.

In court papers she later prepared, Adamek also claims that Sissoko kept numerous mistresses. "Baba knows exactly how to do this so that his wives won't know what is going on," she says, adding that he maintained them in separate apartments on Brickell Key and in hotel suites around the city. One of Sissoko's favorite places to meet women, according to Adamek, was the Brickell Avenue branch of Barnett Bank, where he has an account. Female bank employees were often invited to his condominium for parties, she says, and they almost never refused. It was the same pattern in New York, where he actually married a Citibank teller.

Adamek was able to overlook Sissoko's conduct until it affected her own relationship with her boyfriend Rene Dubois. Tempted by the sudden availability of younger women, Dubois, she says, began having his own affairs. According to Adamek, he was not as discreet (or apparently as experienced) as Sissoko.

She and Dubois began arguing regularly; Adamek says she even complained to Sissoko. "He told me he would take me to Africa and make me rich, make me the manager of one of his hotels," she recalls. But first she had to learn her place and ignore Dubois's dalliances. "He said, 'Close your eyes. Close your eyes.' But I couldn't."

She had seen for herself how Sissoko's affairs had hurt his wives, and she vowed that she would not allow herself to end up in a similar situation. That vow prompted her to action this past April. She had received a phone call in her room at the Occidental Plaza Hotel from a woman asking to speak with Dubois. The woman identified herself as his girlfriend.

Adamek was furious.
After she hung up, she went looking for Dubois, whom she found in the hotel lobby. "I said to him, 'Your lady just called you!'" she remembers. The two began an argument that allegedly culminated in Dubois slapping her across the face.

Embarrassed, she started back to her room, but Dubois followed and, Adamek says, punched and kicked her in the back and arm. A hotel security guard witnessed the commotion and called police. When an officer arrived at the hotel a few minutes later, Adamek was in tears. Dubois was arrested for assault and taken to jail. Sissoko covered his bail.

Dubois's arrest was viewed as a betrayal, and Adamek was immediately cut off from Sissoko and the rest of the entourage. "Nobody would talk to me," she says. "I called Baba many times but he would not speak to me." She found herself alone and frightened, with no one to turn to in Miami.

Several days later attorney Kevin Spencer, son of Thomas Spencer, visited her and said he was representing Dubois. Adamek claims Spencer told her that if she didn't recant the account she provided police, Dubois would be sent to prison for two years. "I didn't want him to go to jail," she says. "I was really in love." So she penned a note asking the judge to dismiss the case against Dubois. "I'm completely alone, locked in my room," she wrote. "I don't eat, sleep -- I'm in such depression that I lost the will of living. For eight years this man is my love, life, and my everything." (Kevin Spencer acknowledges meeting with Adamek; he denies pressuring her to write the letter to the judge. "That's absurd," he says.)

Even though the charges against Dubois were dropped, Adamek remained an outcast from Sissoko's world. Then in May the Occidental manager received a letter from Spencer notifying him that all future bills for Adamek's hotel room would be her responsibility; Sissoko would no longer cover the charges. "They knew I didn't have any money, that I don't even have a bank account in my name," she says. "They left me with nothing."

Adamek is now suing Dubois, alleging that she is owed compensation for the eight years she lived with and supported him. Also named as a defendant in the lawsuit is Sissoko, whose broken promises, she claims, have damaged her. Thomas Spencer calls the complaint ridiculous. "She was never an employee of Mr. Sissoko," he argues. "She had no employment status whatsoever and so she is owed nothing. This is a case of a spurned lover." Spencer also says that Dubois denies ever striking Adamek. (Dubois did not respond to a request for an interview, conveyed through his attorney.) As for Adamek's claim that Sissoko is a womanizer, which she included in her lawsuit, it too is false. "He is extremely respectful of all women," Spencer insists.

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