The former girlfriend of Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, Autumn Spikes has been evicted from her North Miami apartment in Florida, US, after piling up unpaid rent for six months in 2020.
According to Premium Times, Autumn and Dangote dated secretly for nearly 10 years until recently when the business mogul broke up with her and subsequently sued her in a court in Florida for allegedly trying to extort $5 million from him. But while the affair was going on fine most of last year, Autumn was grappling with accumulated rent arrears of $13,230 for the months of March to August 2020, court documents have shown.
The landlord of the property, The Shoreline at SoleMia, 2301 Laguna Circle, North Miami, Florida, issued Autumn with a 30-day ‘Pay or Vacate’ notice on 5 August Autumn neither paid the debt nor vacated her apartment number 1708. After the expiration of the 30-day notice, the landlord, on 19 September 2020, filed an eviction suit against her at a Miami Dade County court, in Florida, the same court where Dangote would later sue her in January.
The landlord’s complaint in the eviction suit reads in part, “Plaintiff owns or is the lessor of the real property, the premises: “The Shoreline at SoleMia, 2301 Laguna Circle Apt 1708, North Miami, FL 33181.
“Tenant retains possession of the premises under a written lease requiring rent of $2,215.00 per month to be paid the first of each month. “A copy of relevant portions of the lease is attached hereto and incorporated herein as plaintiff’s Exhibit A. “Tenant failed to pay rent for March, April, May, June, July, and August.
“Tenant owes plaintiff rent the months stated in paragraph 6 herein in the total sum of $13,230.00 “Plaintiff served tenant notice to pay or vacate the premises on 5 August 2020, as shown by copy or copies of the notice(s) attached hereto and incorporated herein as plaintiff’s Exhibit (s) B, but the tenant refuses to do either.
“In accordance with Fla. Stat. (Florida Statutes) Section 83.60(2), if the tenant fails to deposit the sum of $13,230.00 in the court registry, plus rent which accrued during the pendency of this action, then the plaintiff is entitled to a default judgment for removal of the tenant and to recover a judgment for rent due and owing costs in accordance with Fla. Stat. Sections 83.59 and 83.625.
“Failure of the tenant to pay rent as a due caused plaintiff to retain undersigned counsel and incur reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, which tenant should pay pursuant to Flat. Stat. Sec 83.48 and the lease. “Wherefore, plaintiff demands judgment for possession of the premises, rent, due, court costs and attorney’s fees against the defendant and other available remedies in accordance with Fla. Stat. Section 83.625 and for such other relief this court deems just and proper.”
Autumn serially unreachable
Autumn’s consistent absence from the apartment could be gleaned from the affidavits of failed service deposed to by court officers throughout the period the suit lasted.
The period of her accumulated rent and the court action coincided with the grim period of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and attendant restrictions last year. All attempts to have Autumn personally served with the documents issued at every stage of the suit failed. For instance, the court’s process server made two failed attempts to serve Autumn with the ‘Residential Eviction Summons’ and the landlord’s complaint on Autumn on 23 and 24 September.
In an affidavit of ‘Return of Service’, a process server said after the two attempted service, she had to “post by attaching the true copy” of the documents “to a conspicuous place of the property” close to Autumn’ residence.
As there was no response from Autumn, the landlord on October 10, filed a motion for default judgment, a request for the court to deliver its verdict based on the plaintiff’s claims alone. On 21 October the court delivered a default judgment in favour of the plaintiff.
The court, on 24 October issued a ‘Writ of Possession’ commanding the Sheriffs of the court “to remove all persons” from the apartment and restore possession of the apartment to the plaintiff “after 24 hours notice conspicuously posted on the premises.” But the Sheriffs said an attempt to serve Autumn with the writ of possession failed.
Autumn parks out
However, on 30 October 2020, the landlord’s lawyer wrote the Sheriff Department applying for the cancellation of the writ of possession on the grounds that “tenant vacated.” External view of the North Miami house
Autumn did not file any response in the suit when the suit was declared closed by the court.
Between Autumn and Dangote
Dangote is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Autumn following a dispute over the monetary terms of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) demanded by Africa’s wealthiest man after breaking up with her former girlfriend.
Dangote filed the libel suit on 20 January about 19 days after Autumn posted a video clip through a 1 January Instagram post showing her seated beside the Nigerian businessman with part of his buttocks revealed to viewers.
He alleged in his suit that Autumn threatened to launch “an onslaught” of exposing his “family and private” and social media and media talk shows if he failed to pay her $5 million.
Autumn, in an Instagram post, denied issuing such threats even as she said she had rejected $15,000 and $2,500 “insultingly” offered her by Dangote in exchange for an NDA over their affair.
Dangote, through his US-based lawyers, recently applied to the Miami-Dade County court where he filed his libel suit, to issue a gag order against Autumn. The court has tentatively fixed February 9 for the hearing of Dangote’s preliminary petition.