You guyssss! Yolanda has some sad and some glad news. The sad news is Kola Aluko is all washed up. Dead like a carcass. Deader than American Idol (finally!). Deader than LiLo’s career or Paris Hilton’s relevance. Deader than Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders’ presidential dreams. Catatonic. Deceased. RIP.
Now the vultures are swooping in, picking off the prime remnants of his short-lived escapade as a billionaire money launderer for Nigeria’s corrupt oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke. That’s the glad news. Yolanda is glad ’cause this means lots more stories for your gurl to share with y’all. We’ve already told you yesterday about his former Beverly Hills mansion, where he had to kick his tenant Ariana Grande out so he could sell at a huge loss to investor Paul Daneshrad. But we’re just getting started.
Okay, everyone is gonna hate Yolanda for this, but we’re writing about Paltrow yet again. We know, we know. We can see the eye rolls and head-shaking from across the internets already. We hope you’ll pardon our (slight) obsession, but then again this is our blog. Don’t wanna hear about her? Suck it. Or at least sit pretty until another story comes up that’s more adaptable to your delicate real estate tastes. Capiche?
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with a wee history lesson. Back in 2012-2014, Mr. Aluko was flying high in private jets, his $50 million yacht was being rented by Beyonce & Jay-Z, and he was wining and dining supermodel Naomi Campbell while throwing down tens of millions on some of the priciest real estate in America.
Fast forward to 2016, and Mr. Aluko’s bank accounts have been frozen, a UK warrant for his arrest has been issued, involuntary bankruptcy proceedings have commenced, and he’s in hiding in Switzerland while quietly liquidating his US homes.
In late 2012, Mr. Aluko paid a total of $5,500,000 for two contiguous properties that make up one stately compound in the laid-back but preposterously expensive seaside community of Montecito, CA. The property, it should be noted, is ideal for a celebrity or high-profile person (like Mr. Aluko) due to its flag lot shape, set far back from the street and away from prying eyes.
Below are old pictures of the estate from when Mr. Aluko bought the place in 2012.
According to 2012 digital marketing materials we were able to dig up, the 2.4 acre estate encompasses a 5,726 square foot single-story main house with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. There’s also a separate 2,757 square foot guest house with an additional 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.
Apparently Mr. Aluko didn’t care for the look of the Palladian-style house you see above, because it sure doesn’t look like that anymore. Not only did he never spend a night in the place, he tore it all to pieces. Yolanda located online evidence that indicates Mr. Aluko drew up grand plans to replace the sprawling structures you see above with something larger and much more grand. And indeed, he began construction work to raze the entire property. Below are pictures showing how the estate looks today.
Unfortunately, sometime in 2014 Mr. Aluko’s plans were scrapped and the project halted mid-demolition. This was right about the time shit started to hit the fan back in Nigeria and elsewhere. In February 2015, Mr. Aluko pushed the compound onto the open market with an asking price of $6,900,000. You can clearly see the construction was abandoned rather abruptly. There’s still piles of rocks scattered around. Although the main and guest houses remain standing, the property is a pure teardown. The listing very clearly implies there is no salvaging the current structures. “Being sold as VACANT LAND,” the listing comments scream.
Later, the listing adds, “There is also a well, but no information on it.” What in the world does that mean? “There’s a big hole here but we take no responsibility for the body or two at the bottom?” Yikes!
Of course, one person’s misery is another’s opportunity. Last month (March 2016), after more than a year on the market, the property finally sold at a stupendous discount. Although the estate was listed for $6.9 million, records show the buyer paid just $4,900,000, a bargain-basement price for 2.4 prime ocean-view Montecito acres and a whopping 29% discount off the asking price. Either the buyer knew how to negotiate or Mr. Aluko was utterly desperate to unload the place, because he took a $600,000 hit on the property. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands additionally spent on demolition fees, taxes, holding costs, etc.
So who is the cutthroat buyer? Well, the individual is cloaked behind a mysterious entity calling itself the “West Fourth Street Residential Trust”. Yolanda thought that trust name sounded familiar, so we consulted our black book of blind trusts and we quickly discovered what everyone already knows – that particular trust has long been a well-known front for our goopy gurl herself. That’s right, y’all. It’s Gwyneth Paltrow who bought this development-ready land. She’s a stone cold beotch! She showed Mr. Aluko no mercy.
Yolanda had no idea our gurl was house-shopping (or land-shopping) in Montecito, but it’s really not such a surprise she’d buy up there. Ms. Paltrow has, on numerous occasions, expressed her love for the Santa Barbara area. And let’s not forget, she and Mr. Martin were married in Montecito.
We also didn’t know she would be interested in a teardown, but apparently our gurl is willing to get her delicate hands soiled to build her dream mansion. And you already know who’s gonna decorate said mansion upon it’s completion – everyone’s favorite “lifestyle architect” Windsor Smith.
So what will Ms. Paltrow build? We’ll be impatiently waiting and watching. For now, you can let your imaginations go crazy. Or not, if you’re choosing to tune out everything Paltrow-related.
By the by, Ms. Paltrow and her ex Mr. Martin are really, really rich. In case you hadn’t heard. The two own so much real estate that we can barely recount it all. In addition to her new Montecito spread, there are two mansions in Brentwood’s Mandeville Canyon (one of which was recently and secretly sold). There’s the Lautner-designed place in Malibu’s Point Dume. Of course, there’s the couple luxury condos in NYC (currently for sale) and the cottage in the Hamptons. And let’s not forget their massive London mansion.
But we digress. We don’t have to tell you about how the Montecito area, located about two hours’ drive northwest of downtown Los Angeles, has long been popular with a host of celebrities, tycoons, and billionaires. Current residents include Eric Schmidt, Carol Burnett, Dennis Miller, Rob Lowe, Al Gore, Ellen DeGeneres, and Lynda Weinman. And then, of course, there’s Lady Montecito herself: Oprah Winfrey.
In fact, the much-larger estate directly next door to Ms. Paltrow’s latest acquisition, called “La Pumada”, is owned by billionaire Holmby Hills resident Josh Friedman. He acquired the property a few years ago for $19,500,000 and has been long engaged in a massive remodel and expansion of the premises that is driving all the Montecito locals completely bonkers.
One Montecito resident was even quoted by Page Six as saying, “We are sick and tired of people from Beverly Hills and beyond coming to laid back Montecito for our quiet, understated lifestyle only to have them cluelessly destroy the sanctity of our neighborhood.”
Hahaha! Oh, you poor dears. Think Mr. Friedman is annoying, my naïve little Montecito kiddies? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Just wait ’til your gurl Ms. Paltrow comes home to the ‘hood and gives you all a lovely “Hello” with her construction work. That’ll be a fine howdy-do. Just ask her Mandeville Canyon neighbors if you wanna know what’s in store. You’re gonna wish you’d never been born. Trust!