According to authorities, three weeks before Christmas, Titi Branch fell into a depression so deep she ended up hanging herself in her Midtown apartment on December 4th.
The entrepreneur had made a name for herself by launching a wildly successful line of hair products with her sister Miko, called“Miss Jessie’s.”
By the end of 2014, the Branch sisters found themselves at the helm of a multimillion-dollar hair-care empire. On the outside, everything appeared ideal. Titi, 45, was in a relationship with Anthony Spadafora and vocal about wanting to start a family. But since her death, the two people she loved most — her boyfriend and her sister — have found themselves embattled in a bitter court case. They both blame the other for Titi’s downward spiral.
In Manhattan Supreme Court papers, Miko claims Spadafora isolated her sister from the rest of her family, manipulated her and used her for her money. Miko also notes that Titi removed her as the beneficiary of her $2 million life-insurance policies, replacing her with Spadafora, a move that clearly shows his “undue influence.”
“My sister’s death has been a devastating blow,” she told The New York Post. “It was only after Titi’s death that we learned more about what she’d been going through and how her affairs were being managed.”
The suit claims that in just two years, Spadafora, 43, received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Titi to launch his own beard-care business, Maestro’s Classics; $420,000 to buy and renovate a Pennsylvania house; and a $135,000 interest-free loan.
“In exchange, [she] received nothing,” Miko charged.
Only days after the suicide, Miko says her grief stricken parents were inundated with emails from Spadafora, claiming Titi had drafted a new will giving him 50 percent of everything. He also allegedly held a laptop for ransom, stating he would not return it unless they gave him Titi’s expensive Cartier bracelet.
Spadafora says the charges are “ridiculous.”
He claims Titi was stressed about her tense relationship with Miko after the two fell out in September 2013. He counters that’s what really caused his girlfriend to change the beneficiary on her life-insurance policy and maintains they were a solid unit till the end.
“It was a real love … I was dedicated to her; she was dedicated to me,” Spadafora told The Post.
At once point, he weeps while discussing the difficulties the couple had conceiving through in-vitro fertilization, saying the strain of that process also left Titi drained and despondent
Despite calling Miko “the bully of Brooklyn,” Spadafora says he’s still willing to make peace with the family. “I don’t want to see this turn into a war.”