Legally-embattled and cash-strapped Nigerian money launderer Kola Aluko has 99 problems (and then some) but dealing with a pint-sized diva tenant ain’t one. At least not anymore.
Remember when we wrote about our boy Jho Low? Mr. Aluko reminds us of him in the sense that both fellas were plucked from relative obscurity by (allegedly) corrupt heads of state. Those powerful figureheads used – and benefited greatly – from having Mr. Low and Mr. Aluko launder massive sums of money abroad for them. When we say massive sums, we mean massive. Billions of bucks.
Like Jho Low, Kola Aluko arrived in the US a few years ago and quickly began spending big. He bought extravagant properties in New York, Santa Barbara, and Bel Air. More on those in a minute. Then there was the mock-French Country thing you see above, which is located in Beverly Hills, just north of Sunset in a very good (and celeb-popular) pocket. Records show Mr. Aluko paid $14,725,000 for the property in April 2012. As far as we know, he never moved into the house and it remained vacant until it was listed for rent in late 2013, asking a whopping $52,000 per month. Sometime in the spring of 2014, the property was leased for an unknown amount.
Yolanda wasn’t aware of this until a few months ago, but Mr. Aluko’s tenant was none other than superstar pop princess Ariana Grande.
Frankly, y’all, Yolanda’s first thought upon discovering this was “Who the hell is Ariana Grande?!” We really didn’t know, we swear. Now, now, Ariana fans, don’t get your diapers all in a bundle. We’re not trying to throw shade. It’s just that Yolanda’s a bit too old to know who all these tween stars are. We said the same thing when we wrote about our homegurl Chloe Moretz. It ain’t that these chicks aren’t rich and totally successful. They are. Yolanda’s just an old ho who doesn’t keep up with the times. So save your nasty letters; we now know Miss Grande is a legend, an icon, a holy anointed deity. Blah blah blah.
Anyway, ignorant infidel that Yolanda is, she turned to our buddy Google to learn about this mysterious Miss Grande. Turns out, though only 22 years old, the actress-turned-singer has amassed a significant body of work. Born into a wealthy East Coast-based family, Miss Grande’s breakout role came in 2010, when our boy Dan Schneider cast her in the hit Nickelodeon show Victorious, something we ain’t never seen but we’re sure all you kiddies loved.
The show’s success provided the crafty Miss Grande with the fame she needed to quickly kickstart her real money maker – a singing career. Yours Truly and My Everything, her first and second studio albums, both debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart. Her third album release, Dangerous Woman, hits stores this May and is projected to continue her #1 streak. Miss Grande may be new to the game but she’s killin’ it.
Additionally, Miss Grande’s Instagram is the third most-popular account on the site, sporting an impressive 69 million+ followers. That’s more than Beyonce, Bieber, and even Kimmy K and her massive and totally fake rhino ass. (Oops, did we say that out loud?)
Despite (or perhaps because of) her meteoric rise to fame and fortune and her legions of fans, Miss Grande is not without her many detractors. Over the past few years, the fun-sized songstress has repeatedly battled rampant accusations and hardcore evidence of downright brazen diva behavior. Then there was an embarrassing (and disgusting) incident involving a donut. Yes, a donut.
Miss Grande is also frequently accused of attempting to jack the style, mannerisms, voice, everything about the grande dame diva herself, Ms. Mariah Carey. You know what Miss Carey thinks about her competition, don’t you? Well, whatever. Don’t they say something about imitation and flattery and all that?
Anyway, let’s get to Miss Grande’s (former) rental mansion. This is what $50k (or so) per month got our gurl.
The residence has a commodious 11,478 square feet of living space. The property is walled and gated (of course). There’s a generous 0.78 acres of flat, usable land (and this is prime Beverly Hills, kids).
Our initial excitement to see the interiors of this residence quickly turned to boredom. Now listen, there ain’t nothin’ wrong with this house. It’s just that the interiors put Yolanda right to sleep. Way too much beige and brown for our tastes. A bit dated. A tad stuffy. But that’s just us, okay?
The master bedroom (one of seven bedrooms in the house) has polished wood floors, french doors, a limestone fireplace, and a wondrously campy four-post bed. Yolanda could wurk that shit out. Oh yes we could. Don’t judge.
The master bath (one of eleven bathrooms) is slathered completely in marble and seems cavernous and feminine enough even for the (alleged) big-egoed diva of a former occupant.
The theater is unexpectedly massive and opulent, though the colors and chairs look a bit drab to Yolanda’s eyes. There’s a dramatic curved staircase, which we’re sure Miss Grande appreciated. Wink wink.
We don’t know if Miss Grande was 21 when she first signed the lease, but either way… glorious booze!
Next to the theater area there’s a beige billiard room with beige carpeting and a beige pool table. Ick. However, the outside grounds are quite nice. They contain a huge rectangular swimming pool and adjacent pool house/changing rooms. Meandering stone pathways lead through the grass and back to the house or into the gardens and lush landscaping. Hmmm. Wonder what Miss Grande’s water bill must look like!
As we mentioned, Miss Grande recently moved out of her supremely-located mansion, and Mr. Aluko quickly dumped the property off-market. Records show he sold for $13,000,000 in April (2016). That’s a hefty $1,725,000 loss over four years. Of course, Miss Grande’s rental payments probably help to offset that, but still. Poor Mr. Aluko seems to be on a downward spiral, at least monetarily.
The discount buyer of the Kola-Aluko-owned-and-Ariana-Grande-rented mansion, Yolanda happens to know, is a big Beverly Hills real estate investor named Paul Daneshrad. Wanna live like your favorite crooner? You can! Mr. Daneshrad’s already got the house back up for lease, and he’s only asking a bargain-basement $45k per month! Give him a call. You might be able to sleep in the very same bed as Miss Grande did (okay, that might be a wee bit creepy).
So where did Miss Grande move? Well, we’ve gotta give it up to Your Mama over at Variety on this one. It was she who first whispered to us – and Yolanda has since confirmed – that Miss Grande has significantly downsized her living circumstances, at least for the time being. Instead of an 11,000 square foot, $50,000-per-month mansion in a hoity-toity part of Beverly Hills, she’s slumming it in an 8,000 square foot, $17,000-per-month McMansion in Sherman Oaks. And it’s all too shocking.
Miss Grande’s new rental mansion sits at the tail end of a long, gated driveway that’s just off legendary Mulholland Drive and shared with several other homes. The rental listing for this property boastfully claims the house is a “one of a kind Modern/Med”. Frankly, y’all, that seems slightly disingenuous. To say the least. Anyone with a functioning pair of eyeballs can see the large but depressingly sad residence looks like any of the thousands of 1990s mock-med tragedies scattered throughout LA. We were shocked when we found out the 6-bed, 8-bath house was built in 2009. Doesn’t it look at least a decade older? Aging like milk!
We can’t fathom why a high-falutin’ “diva” like Miss Grande would opt for such a massive downgrade. Is she economizing – maybe saving up cash to buy something grand? That makes sense and it’s probably wise, but it’s such a not-glamorous thing to do. Divas don’t economize! Come on now, Miss Grande. Don’t let your gurl Yolanda down like this.
Back to our boy Mr. Aluko. Although the once high-flying billionaire has been hit hard lately, with arrest warrants and involuntary bankruptcy proceedings swirling around him, he won’t be homeless if he comes to LA. Records show he still owns (through a shell company) a massive contemporary mansion in prime Bel Air, which he picked up back in 2012 for $24,500,000. Guess who spec-built Mr. Aluko’s Bel Air mansion? Do we really have to tell you? The infamous Nile Niami, naturally.
Yolanda wonders if Mr. Aluko would like to unload this beast too. He’s reportedly “in hiding” over in his Swiss villa at the moment and many of his European bank accounts are frozen, so he may be in need of some more quick cash. Yes, we think the odds are quite prime that he’ll sell it. Probably off-market and probably at a precipitously steep loss. Yolanda will keep her sexy eyes on this place, for sure.
Up in Santa Barbara, Mr. Aluko still has several more extravagant properties, all of which are either for sale or have recently been sold at a big loss. We’ll deal more with those on another day. Very soon, we promise.
So there you have it. Is this a foretelling of our sad future world? One of the world’s biggest ballers, Kola Aluko, is going bankrupt. One of the world’s biggest (alleged!) divas, Ariana Grande, is downsizing from Beverly Hills to frickin’ Sherman Oaks. That’s a grim preview of things to come, right?
Maybe not. Miss Grande is still very young. Her career has only just begun. Maybe her new album will sell millions, she’ll tour, and then she’ll buy in Beverly Park in two years. We can see it happening. Yolanda has been in this “business” a long time, and she can tell that Miss Grande has all the potential in the world. But who cares about Kola Aluko. Feed that old koala to the mountain lions. He’s useless.