WARNING: Block spoilers below.
This year’s Block finale has started with a bang, with the first house to go under the hammer instantly earning one team the biggest auction profit in the show’s history.
And as with last year, the man who provided the team with that auction day windfall is none other than “Lambo Guy”, flashy multi-millionaire Adrian Portelli.
Portelli made headlines last year when he rocked up to contestants Omar and Oz’s auction and paid more than $1.58 million above their reserve, making them the runaway winners of the season.
In scenes that aired on Sunday night’s finale, Portelli just pulled a similar stunt with the first house to go to auction. Young NSW couple Steph and Gian have been favourites with the judges all season, and it seems Portelli was a fan too: he bought their house for a cool $5 million, miles above their $3.35 million reserve.
He emerged victorious against fellow serial Block buyer Danny Wallis, in an auction also attended by comedian Dave Hughes, apparently a registered bidder with paddle in hand. It was a dramatic auction from the start, as just after the opening bids, a young girl in attendance fainted and needed medical attention.
After she left in an ambulance, the bidding continued – with Portelli closing the deal with a jaw-dropping bid of $1 million over Wallis. “He can have it,” Wallis said, conceding defeat.
With a profit of $1.65 million, Steph and Gian have just shattered all Block records, before the other four auctions have even taken place.
And Portelli’s deep pockets continued with the night’s second auction, of sisters Eliza and Liberty’s house. He purchased their home for $4.3 million, giving them a massive profit of $1.05 million.
And in bizarre scenes, Portelli bid against himself several times during Eliza and Liberty’s auction, repeatedly raising the price by $100,000 despite already having the highest bid.
“That’s…never happened before,” said a dumbfounded Scott Cam, while the auctioneer called it “the strangest auction I’ve ever done.”
How Portelli made his millions
At just 34 years of age, Portelli is worth a reported $350m and is known for his eye-watering spending; last year he bought a rare supercar for $6.5m.
A university dropout, he initially worked at his father’s truck repair business before striking riches in Los Angeles working in tech start ups. He teamed up with his tech-savvy flatmate while in the US to develop several successful apps, which they then sold at enormous profits.
Nowadays, he keeps his coffers full by running various online raffles and promotions on his online platform LCMT+, where punters can pay for the chance to win big prizes.
A chequered Block history
Portelli made quite the entrance on the 2022 season of The Block, pulling up to Omar and Oz’s auction in his ostentatious yellow Lamborghini, buying the property for a sky-high price, than then promptly disappearing again. That led to some viewer speculation that he was only there to drive up the home’s price and deliver Omar and Oz the win, which all parties fiercely denied.
Portelli later gave the home away as a prize on his LCMT+ website – which recently caused more controversy when he was locked in a bitter public feud with the couple who ended up winning the $4.25m luxury home. Portelli said they were ungrateful winners, and had complained from the moment they were given their first tour of the house, while they accused him of removing $100,000 worth of items from the property before handing over the keys.
After video of the couple’s complaints went viral, Portelli announced a $1 giveaway of all the items that were removed from the house, including a wine fridge and kitchen appliances.
An extravagant spender
Portelli could not be accused of keeping his $350 million fortune under wraps, spending big on fast cars, properties and luxury holidays – all of which he documents for his 232,000-odd Instagram followers.
Earlier this year he made headlines when he had his prized $3 million McLaren Senna GTR car craned to his penthouse on the 57th floor of a Melbourne apartment building:
The entire side of the building had to be deconstructed to make way for the car, which then took pride of place in his $39 million penthouse.
Among his Block buys, he also reportedly bought a Gold Coast mansion for $2.3 million in August last year.
Previous Block winners
2003: BONDI – Adam & Fiona, $256,000
2004: MANLY – Jamie & Andrew, $178,000
2010: VAUCLUSE – John & Neisha, $305,000
2011: RICHMOND – Polly & Waz, $115,000
2012: SOUTH MELBOURNE – Brad & Lara, $606,000
2013: ALL STARS (BONDI) – Phil & Amity, $395,000
2013: SKY HIGH (SOUTH MELBOURNE) – Alisa & Lysandra, $395,000
2014: FANS v FAVES (ALBERT PARK) – Steve & Chantelle, $736,000
2014: GLASSHOUSE (PRAHRAN) – Shannon & Simon, $435,000
2015: TRIPLE THREAT (SOUTH YARRA) – Darren & Deanne, $935,000
2015: THE BLOCKTAGON (SOUTH YARRA) – Dean & Shay, $755,000
2016: PORT MELBOURNE – Will & Karlie, $815,000
2017: ELSTERNWICK – Josh & Elyse, $547,000
2018: GATWICK (ST KILDA) – Hayden & Sara, $645,000
2019: OSLO (ST KILDA) – Tess & Luke, $730,000
2020: BRIGHTON – Jimmy & Tam, $1,066,000
2021: FANS v FAVES (HAMPTON) – Mitch & Mark , $744,444
2022: TREE CHANGE (GISBORNE) – Omar and Oz, $1,686,666.66