|Top 200 Rich List (2020)||No. of Dark Companies: 11||Political Donations since FY 1998-99|
|Rank: 47||Leda Pty Limited||Labor Party: $103,279|
|Wealth: $1.98b||Leda Holdings Pty Ltd||Coalition: $57,500|
|Wealth (2019): $1.84b||Leda Finance Pty Ltd||Independent: $0|
|YoY wealth change: 7.6%||Leda Commercial Properties Pty. Limited||Total: $160,779|
|Barob Pty Ltd|
|Barob Finance Pty Ltd|
|Teresina Pty Ltd|
|Errenmore Pty. Ltd.|
|Wallaby Management Pty Limited|
|Ecovale Pty. Limited|
|Robecq Investments Pty Limited|
Bob Ell began his career as a carpentry apprentice prior to founding Leda Holdings in 1976 and becoming one of Australia’s wealthiest property developers. Ell has since amassed a fortune of $1.98 billion and is the director of eleven Dark Companies.
In 2009, Ell’s business associate Michael McGurk was gunned down outside of his Sydney home. Before his death, McGurk worked for Ell’s Leda Group to negotiate a $70 million deal to buy The Crest Hotel in Kings Cross. It was also revealed that Ell posted the $100,000 bail for McGurk’s release on firebombing and assault charges which were subsequently dropped.
In July last year, Ell sold his holiday home in Noosa for $9.6 million, over three times what he paid for the site in 2011. A month later, he purchased a $22.5 million waterfront property located on Queensland’s ritzy Mermaid Beach.
Ell is currently in dispute with the NSW government over who’s footing the bill for the $30 million costs of building a power station for his Kings Forest and Cobakai Lakes developments. Ell claims that the NSW government assured him that the state’s Essential Energy would bear the cost. However, Tweed MP Geoff Provest said it would be “inappropriate” to burden taxpayers with the costs. Ell has since made plans to go to fellow billionaire Elon Musk for a battery to power his estates.
This isn’t the first time Ell has been in disputes when his projects have not gone to plan. Ell has a long history of lobbying to get desired outcomes for his developments. In March 2019, he threatened to halt a 4500 lot development in Tweed if the proposed Tweed Valley Hospital was not located on his site. However, Ell’s lobbying efforts were unsuccessful, and the Tweed Valley Hospital has since commenced construction in Cudgen.
Ell’s privileged position as the director of eleven grandfathered companies – a secrecy provision not afforded most other Australians – serves to obfuscate his finances and protect him from the scrutiny of the public eye.