The Block's most memorable auction bidders: From Dave Hughes to Adrian Portelli

Surprises are always guaranteed in the finale of Australia's favourite renovation show.

It's not just the contestants who get viewers of The Block talking. Those game enough to bid on the houses and apartments that Australia has watched being renovated are also fascinating to the fans.

Battle of the titans

Last year's bidding war between regular buyer Danny Wallis and flashy Adrian Portelli, who was dubbed "Lambo Guy" after arriving at the auction in a yellow Lamborghini, led to a record profit on the show.

The Block auction bidders Adrian Portelli and Danny Wallis at the auction in 2022
The Block's top bidders last year, Adrian Portelli and Danny Wallis, battled it out for Omar and Oz's property. Photo: Nine

Adrian started the bidding on Omar and Oz's house with an offer $500,000 above the reserve price. This led fans to question whether Adrian was a plant to increase bids, even asking whether he could afford the property. But multi-millionaire Adrian, the owner of LMCT+, a promotions and giveaway platform, responded quickly to the accusations.

"I wanted to buy the house," he said on The Kyle and Jackie O Show. "I was going to give it away through the business. It was going to be a giveaway house."


Celebrity bidder

In 2017 radio host and TV personality Dave Hughes decided to get in on The Block action, bidding for Josh and Elise's five-bedroom home in Elsternwick. He paid a whopping $3.067 million, which was $447,000 over the reserve, giving the couple the win for the season.

The comedian, who went against his wife's wishes to buy the property, instantly regretted his purchase. "I went to get a bank loan the other day and they haven't valued it the same as I paid for it, which is fine, but annoying because there were five bidders," he told Stellar Magazine four months later.

Comedian Dave Hughes with The Block contestants Josh and Elyse and inset the house he bought in 2017
Comedian Dave Hughes initially regretted paying so much for Josh and Elyse's house in 2017. Photo: Nine

While he didn't reveal how much it had been valued at, he did say: "Enough less that it made me annoyed. For f**k's sake!"

He has also struggled to find tenants over the years for the property but it looks like Dave finally has some good news. When his radio co-host Erin Molan was talking on-air about what the house would be worth now, Dave admitted that he recently received an offer on the place of around $5 million.

Fraudulent buyer

It's usually the contestants that cause the problems but in 2020, it was the winning buyer that created the controversy. At the nail-biting auction, Jimmy and Tam's house made a record-breaking $966,000 profit, taking their overall winnings to $1.06million.

However, they allegedly never got a payment from cybersecurity specialist Emese Fajk, whose winning bid was $4,256,000. Emese, who has since left Australia for Europe, claims she was naive when it came to purchasing the property.

The Block 2020 winners Jimmy and Tam with Emese Fajk
The Block 2020 winners Jimmy and Tam and the winning bidder for their property Emese Fajk. Photo: Nine

"My fault in all this was that I did not know the purchase process and therefore was unable to spot mistakes or know what information was missing," she said in a video she made while in Portugal.

"I'm a 29-year-old girl building my own life and I will not continue to suffer in silence and let this hang above my head as some sort of dark cloud," she added.

Emese has since joined Ukrainian troops defending Ukraine against the Russian invasion but has been accused of being behind the disappearance of a US$2.5 million (AU$3.67 million) shipment of medical supplies and syphoning off donations intended for the war effort.

The Block's Auction Grand Finale will air Sunday, November 5 at 7pm on Nine and 9Now.

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