A headline-making scandal is casting a huge shadow over the looming auctions on The Block this year, with the cast said to be "nervous" their homes won't sell as Melbourne businessman and Block buyer Adrian Portelli attempts to remove himself from the ensuing drama.
It comes after Adrian bought Sharon Johal and Ankur Dogra's home for $4.25 million in a post-auction private sale and then offered the Gisborne home in a giveaway through his LMCT+ rewards club.
CCTV footage leaked
The winners – Victorian-based couple Andrea and Kevin Griffin – then went public with claims that Adrian removed items, pointing to CCTV footage as they told their story to the media.
"We were just like, what the hell?" Andrea said. "Why has he done this?"
However, Adrian, 34, has since slammed the "wild accusations" and says those items were never, in fact, included in the prize.
"The terms and conditions governing each competition hosted on our client's website are clearly displayed for all participants," a statement released by Adrian reads.
"Furniture is clearly not included."
Andrea and Kevin claim they've been living in an "absolute nightmare" following their win, as the public accuse them of being "ungrateful" and "unAustralian".
Since releasing a statement to the media, rumours are swirling among Block insiders that Adrian may very well choose not to attend the much-anticipated auction this week.
Adrian was a huge and ultimately very successful part of 2022's auction day.
The business owner entered a fierce but entertaining bidding war with Block favourite Danny Wallis over Omar Slaimankhel and Osman Abu Malik's winning home, so there's no doubt the 2023 cast are eagerly wishing he returns to buy their Hampton East properties.
It comes as he was spotted meeting with executive producer Julian Cress earlier in October, fuelling speculation that he's ready to buy up big.
Earlier in the season, Adrian appeared on screen to cast his vote as part of the Domain Listings Challenge.
Potential buyers got a first look at the properties, with the majority picking Steph and Gian's lavish Japanese-Scandinavian home as their favourite.
However, Adrian preferred Kristy and Brett's house. Woman's Day's sources admit all the teams have high hopes the online promotions guru, who has been branded a "legendary" bidder by Block fans, will choose their home.
Speaking to the media recently, Adrian confirmed that despite his outward grandiosity and wealth, he really is an introvert. "I'm a very shy person, believe it or not," he said.