Saturday, March 04, 2017

JAMES O'BRIEN: LBC PRESENTER SECRET BUY-TO-LET MILLIONAIRE - EXCLUSIVE UPDATE

The Ayatollah of the Airwaves, James O’Brien, is still raging at the radio ether. His current demons: pensioner investors and... buy-to-let. “It’s not the politics of envy to say they need their wings clipped,” he declared last week. In fact, if you hit the numbers and can’t get through it’s probably because he’s still banging on about landlords and second-home ownership.  Time to take a peek then at the former landlord-turned-gamekeeper’s own dirty “deeds“. A BIGRETORT EXCLUSIVE



In 2014 AD, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby held a head-to-head with presenter James O’Brien; who isn’t usually lost for words let's face it. But whilst His Grace fielded phone-calls from LBC devotees, sat at the other end of the wireless alongside him was not the station's usual attack dog -  instead, in somewhat subdued genuflection, was old motor mouth himself. Choirboy O'Brien claimed he had received an email from a listener: “He says how does the Archbishop feel about the Church's record as landowner and in particular its hardnosed approach to tenants… by further increasing its portfolio it risks becoming just another buy-to-let landlord?” (In O’Brien lexicon ‘scumbag‘.)
The Archbishop countered, the Church had allowed some tenants in Warwickshire a rent holiday after an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Causing O'Brien to retort: “But it's still not quite sell everything you own and ‘follow me’ is it?”

Flash forward a few years... James the Redeemer is at it again. And like Moses leading his flock from Armageddon, he is looking through those scratched bifocals at buy-to-let investment: ‘The chronic unfairness of buy-to-let.' The new plague by all accounts. Delivering the Commandments, gesticulating wildly, Old Moses Mouth rails and rages: “... if you meet a buy-to-let landlord, they’re laughing all the way to the bank!” Throwing up his hands, he adds - “And they’re not all evil people! Please don’t bombard me with violin accompaniments about how tough it is to be a landlord! I appreciate that it’s not easy. But it’s a hell of a lot easier than having to work to pay to buy a house!” A snigger from Old Mortgage Mouth. He should know... 

O’Brien has consistently informed “listeners” that whole generations would ‘never ever’ get to own a piece of the promised land; because evil buy-to-let investors were now letting them at ever inflated rents to the very property hopefuls and innocents that they had gazumped and gazundered. “Pensioner investors,” he spat the other day. Apparently they are busy buying up whole streets across the disunited Kingdom; and, like skeletons wielding scythes, stealing his listeners… “futures“.

Hold on a minute... Certainties shaken. Gasps flabbered. There appears to be some static on those airwaves at “97.3“... James O’Brien? The guy who talks over people, is rude; and who has admitted in the past to having pursued his own ‘brief encounter' as landlord-investor -  THAT James O’Brien?

A word in your shell like, from her indoors.

“We had searched high and low for months for something central enough within our budget and had drawn a blank at ex-council properties or maisonettes until we stumbled across the estate.” journalist Lucy McDonald wrote. Adding later, “It was, and still is, bliss.” [Evening Standard, August 16, 2006.]

The O’Brien buy-to-let investment had a red-clothed doll hanging in the window and a thin trellis growing up the right hand-side flanking its blue front door. However, the "Queen‘s Park" described by Mrs "OB” in the Standard at that time fell between Kilburn and Kensal Green, or North Kensington. The cottage was though in what Westminster Council designated Queen’s Park Estate Conservation Area.

Coincidentally. LBC and BBC Newsnight presenter O’Brien has relentlessly waged an intellectual radio war against phone-in infidels - usually aimed at those who don’t have the same mental acuity or verbal gymnastics. What listeners may not know however, is that O’Brien’s 'near' neighbour was Mohammed Emwazi... aka Jihadi John; former drone dodger.

The ink was barely dry on the Evening Standard piece when “Jihadi James" moved from the Kilburn property - described as “bliss” by his journalist wife - to the radio presenter’s current Mecca in a leafy middle-class area of Chiswick. [The Ayatollah of the Airwaves paid the full asking price for the three-bed townhouse.]

In the Standard article, James O’Brien’s “wife” was not only describing the area in which the couple previously lived, but also the home that would later become the buy-to-let property that would lead the couple toward untold riches.

“Untold” because O’Brien never told his listeners how much he made from buy-to-let property. It was ’brief’ - that‘s all they know. 

TheBigRetort exclusive... 

--O’Brien’s second-home-ownership was far from ‘brief‘ - and lasted five and a half years!

--O’Brien’s Damascene conversion from buy-to-let landlord, to saint, only manifested itself after he himself made a veritable fortune, from, ooh, err… buy-to-let! 

--O'Brien's Buy-to-let investing set the then impoverished argument presenter, at the grand old age of 35, on the road to being… a property millionaire!


“But it's still not quite sell everything you own and ‘follow me’ is it?”
[James O'Brien to Archbishop Welby, God's landlord. LBC, 2014. AD]



Buy2LetOBrien - Following James

Raised by Benedictine Monks of Ampelforth College - motto, Dieu le ward. God is the one true landlord. [I think.] Saint James, when he launched himself into buy-to-let, set himself on the path to a wealth beyond that of a monk‘s wildest imaginings. [The Ampelforth monks were subject to The Rule of St Benedict who wrote in the Sixth Century AD a doctrine for fellow monks. Amongst the text: humility; silence; obedience. It was the last two which allowed some monks to ignore certain traits amongst their Catholic brotherhood: who systematically saw vulnerable boys targeted by truly sick “abbots”. Though “homosexual mafia” as one monk reported is not, in my humble opinion, an appropriate tag for a coven of paedophilic priests.]

Crucially O'Brien himself was to retain his former home as a buy-to-let investment - for five and a half years. Yet here was James O’Brien, just twelve months before, denying first-time buyers the opportunity to purchase a home... when he retained his own buy-to-let. [A Google search records that the property was at one time advertised “to let” at just over £2,000 per calendar month.]

A few words from James: “If we’d have invented this [buy-to-let] system now and tried to sell it to the British public they’d-they’d have chased us out of- out of the country. Yeah… what we’re gonna do… we’re gonna create a system in which people have already got a lot of money, they will ‘sort‘ of buy a house. But they’ll borrow a bunch of cash to buy it! You who have got less than them, you’re gonna pay their mortgage for them. [Smiling inanely in his Podcast] Okay! Is everybody cool with that. Yeah..? Rich bloke here, already got a house. Got a bit of money in the bank! Uses it… uses it to get a - put a - deposit in a flat. You! You’re earning enough to pay a mortgage, but you haven’t got a lump some to pay the deposit on-- So you’re gonna buy him another house! Is that okay! You’re just gonna buy him a flat..? By living in it and paying for the privilege. (Smiles) Vote me!”

So says a plaster saint… First time buyers were ‘nowhere near being able to afford’ to purchase his former home - and even if they could, they couldn‘t - because James O’Brien held on to it.

[The “radio presenter” and his “journalist” wife incorporated a company in April 2007, and could not be said to be rolling in it…Brother Micawber of Ampleforth may have explained it ever thus: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." ]

It must have been whilst buttering parsnips in Queen’s Park that O’Brien decided not to leave someone else ‘to it’. In other words, to have a roof they actually own over their heads. Instead... James O'Brien got his 'poor' downtrodden tenants to contribute towards his mortgages. No wonder Queen’s Park was such “bliss”.

“It’s like... like all the big changes in society it’s sort of crept up on us and we’ve been labouring under the illusion that we might somehow… the fundamental unfairness. And of course if you meet a buy to let landlord, they’re laughing all the way to the bank. (Throwing up hands he informs in his Podcast and continues) --And they’re not all evil people - please don’t bombard me with violin accompaniments about how tough it is to be a landlord! I appreciate that it’s not easy. But it’s a hell of a lot easier than having to work to pay, to buy, a house. (Sniggers) Just to own it, to leave someone else to it.“
[James O'Brien, LBC.]


Laughing All The Way 


Every time he collected the rent on his buy-to-let, former Ampleforth pupil James O’Brien must have felt the weight of Saint Benedict on his shoulders. If he did, this did not stop him squeezing his buy-to-let 'asset' further. O’Brien commenced making several improvements - thereby driving up the price beyond the reaches of many generations to come.

Various planning applications for improvements were submitted to Westminster Council by the Buy-to-let O'Briens. Placed just prior to the sale of the Grade II Listed cottage... some works had been undertaken without planning permission.

However, remarkably, in a later successful planning application the following is found: “We do not use the downstairs bathroom as we have one upstairs.”

But the Buy-to-let O'Briens were dropping a soft-close loo-seat in Chiswick - and had been for the past five and a half years..? A bit of a distance from Chiswick to Queen’s Park, isn‘t it! [Perhaps it’s a typo and they meant “to let” not toilet.]

Weeks after receiving planning permission on the house - which they claimed they needed for themselves - the property was sold: for more than double what they paid for it. It is not known if the works had already been completed, were completed in this time, or were completed by the new owner.

The "eventual" sale of the buy-to-let in 2013 was extremely fortuitous for James O'Brien. A few years later, Chancellor George Osbourne introduced a skip-load of measures designed to gazump buy-to-let landlords. Amongst these: the complete removal of the wear and tear allowance of 10%; all rental payments to be treated as actual income; low-to-no mortgage interest relief removed in increments; and 3% stamp duty increases on buy to let or second home ownership.

So it was not the monastic values of Ampleforth that young James followed in his scurry up the property ladder. Instead, finger ever on the doorbell, O’Brien, was a property denier.


He assured listeners that he had only “briefly” thrown off the scapula of his former faith and entered into O’Brien Economics: Okay for me; but not for you.


Buy2LetOBrien Meets ‘His’ Mecca


The creation of his former home as a buy-to-let investment had obviously percolated in the tortured mind of Brother O‘Brien - the quasi radio monk - for some time.



Like a secret from his dark past, after moving to Chiswick in 2007 - a year after his wife wrote that shameless glowing tribute in the Evening Standard about their former property (thereby inflating the price beyond ordinary buyers’ pockets for ever) O’Brien, caving in under the weight of his tenants' meagre earnings, sold the property in 2013 - one year before he had a go at the Archbishop of Canterbury about God being a buy-to-let landlord. Having offloaded his own buy-to-let, twelve mortgage payments later James O'Brien was free to lambaste others for what he himself had done - including the Almighty!


Chapters 54 and 55 of the Rule of St Benedict taught at his former school advised that the goods of the community should be ‘shared‘. One wise monk explained: “Quite clearly the vice St Benedict wants us to avoid is the all too human trait of acquisitiveness: how easy it is to ensure that our cell is fitted out with all available creature comforts and in so doing create a situation in which covetousness among the monks who possess little flourishes. There is a real need for each of us to watch carefully over what we have in our cell: to ask whether we are really in need this or that item, whether we really need this or that gift.”



And for gift read “guilt”.


James "buy to let" O’Brien’s (apparent) guilt regarding two "cell" ownership may be due to his monastic education. However, truth to say... Saint James, who had lived under a vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience, experienced an epiphany in a cell of his own making. He had simply sought to profit: and that did not sit well under the shadow of St Benedict.


At this point the former landlord may comfort himself with old parable on property ownership…


Jesus on the Cross

Peter hears Jesus calling weakly from the Cross: "Peter, come thee hither!"
Peter goes to run up to the hill but as soon as he begins to get close the Roman guard shouts "NO!", and with a woosh of the sword viciously chops off Peter’s outstretched arm.
Peter looks at the bloody stump, shaken. But his messiah, growing evermore faint, calls out to him again, "Peeter" come thee hither!
Peter, realising he has been “chosen” above all others, once more moves towards the Cross...
But the Roman guard is having none of it. This time woosh! he lops off Peter’s leg.
Peter’s is getting really pissed off now... He’s lost an arm and a leg, is in a lot of pain; and his new clothes are covered in blood. Nevertheless, he hears his messiah call again: “Peeeter… come thee… hither!”
Peter sighs. This is a test of his faith and so he overcomes the pain and hops further up the hill toward the Cross on his remaining leg: Woosh! The guard chops off his other leg.
Peter’s slides down beneath the Cross holding on to it in agony. His new suit‘s ruined.
“Peeter… come thee… hitheeer!” He hears the messiah cry faintly again.
Peter‘s getting a bit hacked off, but fighting the pain and the fear, carried by belief alone, he pulls himself up defiantly to the Cross - with just one arm and no legs, and in total agony. He sees the guard, sword hovering…
But this time the guard lets the sword fall to the ground.
He kneels in front of the Cross; in awe - a miracle!
Seeing this, Peter, with his remaining arm, and no legs, pulls himself up the Cross... Finally he reaches the top and screams in anticipation: "Yes my lord!”
With that, Jesus replies: "I can see your house from here!"


It was all about property ownership, even back in the day.

Not really... Saint Benedict himself found property ownership unacceptable and lived in a cave.

But the Prophet of Ampelforth had two properties and made as much money as he could. He then offloaded the buy-to-let the moment his monastic “certainties” got shaken up - and after the money was banked. After making a mint, Saint James once more embraced the teachings of Saint Benedict and renounced all his worldly possessions: or one at least. The mortgage on the house in Chiswick he must have paid 'down' from the proceeds of his buy-to-let. [Pensioner investors don't need to do this, James. So please stop saying this.]

So, how much did Buy2LetO’Brien make from what he sometimes terms his ‘brief’ foray into buy-to-let? 

It’s the old, If ifs-and-buts were pots and pans…

IF his Queen's Park property turned over a veritable fortune in rent… (it was advertised for let at over 2k monthly) - that’s £136k that he pocketed from those forelock-tugging tenants...

IF rising property values soared - after being talked up by poorly paid journalists? - which they did... [Purchased for £325k, it later sold in 2013 - for £645,000] that’s another £325K profit...

IF a similar house in the same Chiswick road where he now lives sold for one million three hundred and sixty thousand pounds… which it did a few years back...

IF Capital Gains Tax won’t be applied to any future sale of the present Chiswick house, and very little or "none" was applied to the sale of his buy-to-let (former residence) - that listeners, is an astonishing additional… £612K into the O’Brien coffers.

In fact, Buy2LetOBrien‘s ever so ‘brief' five and a half years retention of an investment property, and purchasing of another, which also saw considerable growth, is over… ONE MILLION POUNDS, AND CLIMBING!!

Back to 2006 whilst talking-up property prices in Queen‘s Park, wife Lucy hyped: “Council schemes have helped reverse the estate's fortunes. Whilst gentrification has been slower than in neighbouring areas, making it more affordable.”

However, with its present-day value fast approaching a million pounds, it is doubtful if the O'Brien former buy-to-let remains so.

But then, the Rule of Benedict surely applies...

‘If he teaches his disciples that something is not to be done, then neither must he do it.’


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