Phil Collins claims ex-wife, new husband unlawfully seized singer's Miami Beach mansion

Lawsuit alleges couple hired armed guards to patrol property, changed alarm codes
Phil Collins and Orianne Collins in 2017
Posted at 8:40 AM, Oct 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-18 08:40:08-04

MIAMI — "In the Air Tonight" singer Phil Collins has filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife and her new husband, claiming the couple has forcibly seized the musician's Miami Beach mansion unlawfully, hiring armed guards to patrol the property and changing the alarm codes to keep Collins out.

A lawsuit filed Wednesday in Miami-Dade County court alleges that Orianne Cevey Collins Mejjati Bates and Thomas Bates, whom she married in August, "have refused to vacate" the property at 5800 N. Bay Road, which is owned by Collins, and have commandeered the former Genesis frontman's home "through a show of force."

The lawsuit calls the occupants "trespassers" and reveals that Collins "believes there is a substantial risk that Mrs. Bates or Mr. Bates or their agents will remove, conceal or destroy valuable and irreplaceable personal property" from the home.

In an Oct. 9 letter from Collins' attorney to the attorney representing Orianne Bates, Jeffrey D. Fisher claimed his opposing counsel's client is attempting to hold the house "hostage" during stalled negotiations stemming from an attempt by Collins' ex-wife to receive "a preposterous amount of money" based on an "oral agreement" that Fisher said doesn't exist.

"Plain and simple, the letter said that Phil had to pay millions of dollars to Orianne or she would file a baseless suit full of false information which would then undoubtedly be provided to the media to embarrass and defame Phil," Fisher wrote. "In addition, the letter stated that she would not vacate the Miami Beach home until Phil reached an agreement with Orianne premised on these ridiculous legal theories and unsubstantiated facts."

Fisher claimed Orianne has been on notice to leave the residence since Aug. 6 and has refused to do so, even after several extended deadlines were offered to her.

Fisher's letter also outlined the alleged actions of the Grammy Award-winning musician's ex-wife to willingly defy repeated warnings to leave the home.

"She called the alarm company and falsely represented she had the authority to remove Phil's access code and give access codes to the so-called 'security guards' she brought on the property without my client's consent," Fisher wrote. "She contacted the video surveillance company and told them to install a new system and she taped up some of the existing cameras that give my client visual access to his property. She denied access to the realtor who wanted to show the property to a ready, willing and able buyer. She did other wrongs too long to list for which all rights and remedies are reserved."

Collins, who has been married and divorced three times, bought the waterfront estate for $33 million in 2015, Miami-Dade County property records show. The property is currently for sale at an asking price of $40 million.

The lawsuit seeks a court injunction to evict the Bateses from the home.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Monday afternoon.