Defending myself & counter-suing property trainer Samuel Leeds

by Vanessa Warwick

Defending myself & counter-suing property trainer Samuel Leeds

by Vanessa Warwick
Vanessa Warwick
Case Owner
Community Manager, consumer champion, & I have a long track record of challenging exaggerated marketing claims & supporting vulnerable people when they have experienced financial loss.
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Vanessa Warwick
Case Owner
Community Manager, consumer champion, & I have a long track record of challenging exaggerated marketing claims & supporting vulnerable people when they have experienced financial loss.
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Latest: Jan. 13, 2022

A small victory!

I just want to let you know of a small victory for those people who are standing up to Samuel Leeds.

You may remember that youtuber Jon Halstead had his video removed after Samuel sent a copyright str…

Read more

Defending a claim for six figure damages for alleged defamation such claim having been commenced against me by the so-called property trainer Mr Samuel Leeds.

By Vanessa Warwick, Community Manager, Consumer Champion.

Thank you for visiting my campaign page.

About me: I have a long track record of challenging exaggerated marketing claims and supporting vulnerable people who have experienced financial losses after being enticed to sign up to expensive property wealth creation courses.

I am having to seek the support of members of the public in order to defend a claim in the High Court of Justice commenced by a so-called wealth and property trainer and self-proclaimed millionaire Mr Samuel Leeds and his company Samuel Leeds Limited.

Background

In 2009 I co-founded a property forum called Property Tribes with my husband Nick.

The forum was designed to offer up community-generated advice and opinion to prospective landlords.

Over the last few years the Property Tribes forum has been inundated with dissatisfied customers who have been in contact with “wealth creation experts” who promise, among other things, that an individual could be a millionaire in a year with little or no money.

Many members of the public have used the PT platform to air their concerns about the unregulated nature of the so-called property “guru” industry, thereby putting Property Tribes at the forefront of community-generated due diligence resources to inform and protect consumers from the dangers of engaging with these types of "get rich quick through property" promoters.

The “wealth creation” industry appears to object the service that Property Tribes has provided to the public and as a result our site has been subject to negative propaganda and smear campaigns.

Much of this negative propaganda has been directed at me personally.

Since 2019, I have been being targeted on a massive scale and this is why I have come to CrowdJustice to seek your kind support.

The individual who I believe is behind this campaign since May 2019 is named Samuel Leeds and has been the subject of a BBC expose (viewed by over 20 million people) after one of his mentees, Army Reservist Danny Butcher, got into debt after signing up to Samuel's training academy and subsequently took his own life.

This has culminated in a claim being commenced by Mr Leeds and his company Samuel Leeds Limited against me for defamation where he is seeking to recoup six figure damages.

Mr. Leeds was also the subject of a segment on Joe Lycett's Channel 4 "Got Your Back" programme (viewed by 1.4 million people) were Joe gate-crashed Samuel's event to ask why Samuel was charging thousands of pounds for freely available information.

The Telegraph also ran a number of articles:

My late husband got into debt after chasing property dreams

'Who wants a free house?': My 13-hour day at a get-rich-quick seminar

Exclusive investigation: The property 'guru' leading people into debt in pursuit of 'financial freedom'

Get rich quick schemes and the need for regulation

So as you can see from the above there has been exposure of Mr. Leeds and his marketing claims, training methods, and lack of fulfilment of what he promises his students.

Threads about Mr. Leeds started to appear on PropertyTribes from 2017. They were mostly started by dissatisfied mentees and ex-business partners. Not a single thread was started by me. These threads were constantly moderated in line with Property Tribes terms and conditions.

Despite this and all the mainstream exposure of his practices, Samuel Leeds has targeted myself as the source of all his woes.

Over a two year period I believe he has run a smear campaign against me in order to get threads deleted from Property Tribes and/or to discredit myself and it as a source of credible information.

He has also constantly tried to force an interview with me to debate the commentary about him on Property Tribes.

I believe that the first campaign was undertaken by someone claiming to be associated with Samuel Leeds and the second campaign was undertaken by Samuel himself, using his extensive social media channels. The police investigated on both occasions and I am hugely grateful for their support.

I would like to add that I am a respected industry commentator, am regularly asked for commentary by the mainstream media such as the Times, Telegraph, Estates Gazette, Guardian, and ThisIsMoney, and also provided consultation to the government on how to communicate Right to Rent legislation to landlords as well as being invited to a private meeting with the Special Advisor to the Housing Minister to share my views on issues affecting the private rented sector.

Throughout all of this 18 month campaign, which has caused me considerable distress and disrupted my life, Samuel has attempted to force contact with me, which I believe are the actions of an harasser, not someone being harassed.

Samuel Leeds has now issued proceedings in the High Court against me, largely for my fact-checking of his comments about me and my documentation of his activities against me, which was provoked by the content he created himself to disrupt my life and ruin my good reputation!

Earlier this week, the New Statesman have also published an article which mentions Samuel Leeds in a less than favourable light and identifies the issues that cause a lot of people concern over his activities:

"As with influencers' personal home renovation accounts, these users encourage an envy-driven kind of escapism, particularly for low-paid young viewers. For those with no assets, trying to find steady work in the midst of a recession, there is obvious appeal in a fantasy where they have the disposable income, time and energy to gut and refinish an abandoned building while still paying for their own home.

Those who advocate such trends speak as though their lifestyle choices are accessible to anyone, when in reality, like property investment, they are a way for the already-wealthy to make themselves richer or happier, often at the expense of those who aren’t as fortunate. ".

With regard to Mr Leeds’ claims for defamation/harassment as against me personally, I am of the belief that his case has no legal merit.

Resorting to the law appears to be a strategy favoured by Mr Leeds as he appears to consider it an opportunity to silence dissenting voices.

I am informed and believe that Mr Samuel Leeds has sent legal threats to scores of YouTubers, forums, bloggers, FaceBook groups and other individuals to get negative content removed about him from social media and also started High Court action against an autistic man who stood up to him.

Fundamentally, this is an attack on free speech, fair comment and the right for any individual in this land to express an honest opinion without threat, rancor, or abuse.

All individuals must be allowed to “call out” individuals and/or businesses, that do not operate to an extremely high standard or do not offer a "duty of care" to consumers. If there are issues that are a matter of public interest, they must be expressed without the threat of being “dragged” before the courts.

I am fighting for the public interest and to oppose bullying tactics from individuals who appear to have the financial “muscle” to act in this way.

Still with me? Thank you!

I am standing up to his bullying tactics and have filed my defence and issued a counter claim for harassment.

I need your assistance to continue my defence and my own legal action counter-suing Samuel Leeds for his harassment of myself which will finally reveal the true nature of his ethics and business practices.

My defence as against Mr Samuel Leeds will, in my opinion, go a long way to “shine a light" on the unregulated wealth creation industry and prevent vulnerable people being “duped” into paying thousands of pounds for courses that make exaggerated claims as to becoming “financially free” through property investments with little or no starting funds and in very short time periods.

Andrew Denbigh Whyte, another ex-veteran, who got into further debt by signing up with Samuel Leeds and has nothing to show for it, is now part of a class action of over 50 ex-mentees of Samuel Leeds who are seeking refunds.

My commentary about Samuel Leeds and this CrowdJustice campaign is in the public interest.

Positive steps have been made recently with Nick Fletcher MP reading out Danny Butcher's name in parliament and asking for ex-veterans to receive more financial literacy support as they are vulnerable to being scammed when they come out of the armed services.

In the first instance, I am seeking £12.5K to fund my on-going defence and counter-claim.

Important note: If you are struggling financially, please DO NOT DONATE. Please just share this link on social media instead.

If you have lost money to a wealth creation expert with promises of easy riches who you were first exposed to on-line, please do one or all of the below:

1. Write to your MP and let them know. You can find your MP's contact details here.

2. Contact Howard Mustoe, Senior personal finance reporter at the Telegraph via howard.mustoe (at) telegraph.co.uk who has an interest in this topic.

3. Contact Trading Standards.

Thank you for reading and thank you in advance to anyone who can support me in my legal fight against property trainer Samuel Leeds.


With objectivity and fairness in mind; the Claimants refute all of the points that I am making in this page. The Claimants will say that all of the negative press generated by the mainstream media is without merit although, little appears to have been done by them to challenge this in the Courts, save for instigating legal proceedings against me.

The objectives of this page is solely to raise money to pay for professional legal assistance to enable me to present my case in court. It does not mean that you accept, or anyone accepts my view of the case - this is a matter entirely for the Court.



Update 13

Vanessa Warwick

Jan. 13, 2022

A small victory!

I just want to let you know of a small victory for those people who are standing up to Samuel Leeds.

You may remember that youtuber Jon Halstead had his video removed after Samuel sent a copyright strike to youtube and also threatened him with legal action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjp5uw52F1s&t=5s

Jon challenged this and provided evidence that his video fell under "fair usage" terms and it has now been reinstated!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTVvDYEBblc

It's had over 100K views, which is why Samuel wants it gone.

I came across a great quote recently:

"Truth does not mind being questioned, but a lie does not like being challenged".

This, in my opinion, is why Samuel Leeds threatens legal action to anyone who challenges him.

Today, on facebook, he's claiming to be the "greatest property influencer in the UK"!

Well if you believe, like me, that his influence is negative on our industry, please could you please share my campaign on social media again?

Thank you for your continued support. It's appreciated more than you know!

Best,

V.

Update 12

Vanessa Warwick

Jan. 7, 2022

Why this stand against Samuel Leeds is so needed

Happy new year! I hope you had a peaceful and relaxing festive break.

I wanted to share with you a distressing comment on a youtube video where Samuel was interviewed. It sums up why the "wealth creation" sector MUST be regulated.

This is why Samuel Leeds must be held to account.

In response to a video interview with him, a mentee responded:

"Samuel: ' What have I done that's bad?'  

1. You lie 

2. You disrespect people  

3. You encourage people do make financial decisions purely for your own benefit 

4. You target young kids, clueless about investing and property like myself, and you preach about how easy it is for them to become financially free if they bought your courses. 

Once they fall in the trap all the love, compassion and Christian values are gone. Not only what was promised was not delivered,  but the Academy becomes a way of selling even more courses.  

5. You don't care about anything that happens once someone bought your course. You don't care about people struggling in debt, you don't care about the mental damage produced. 

You say you want to make sure you get the right people on the academy, but all you care about is money. One of the categories of people "right" for your Academy is clueless kids that can potentially get in debt to pay for your Academy. 

What happens  after they get in debt you don't care. This was exactly what happened to me.  

6. Can you explain how is getting into debt to pay for your Academy a good debt?  

7. When I mentioned my debt and how difficult it was to keep up with the payments the only thing I heard from you was that is not your fault that I was I debt.   

I can think of many more particular ones. Can also provide examples and evidences of my experience and how I got treated by you and your team. I know you actually believe your lies, but the truth is you did a lot of bad things to many people like me in the name of help, financial freedom, charity,  & Christianity".

I am sure you agree with me that that young person is struggling and has been mis-led about what can be achieved in property.

I want to stress again how important this legal battle is in getting more protection for consumers from these self-proclaimed wealth creation "experts".

Right now, many naive, desperate, and vulnerable people are thinking of how they can improve their lot in life in 2022.

Please donate and/or share if you can.

All the best for 2022 and thank you for your continued support.

Update 11

Vanessa Warwick

Dec. 24, 2021

Samuel Leeds threatening youtuber with legal action

As mentioned on my CrowdJustice campaign page, Samuel Leeds likes to silence anyone who fact checks or challenges him with legal action.

Youtuber Jon Halstead is his latest target. Jon posted a very balanced and non-defamatory review of how he found Samuel Leeds' training Academy.

As a paid up client, Jon is entitled to have an opinion on how that training worked for him.

Samuel got the video removed by youtube based on a copyright breach, as Jon had used a few seconds of Samuel's own footage. Jon has also received legal letters from Samuel's solicitors, Ellisons, threatening him with legal action.

Jon has courageously created a new video called "Samuel Leeds might sue me" to tell his story of how he is standing up to this bullying:

Update 10

Vanessa Warwick

Dec. 21, 2021

Interview by industry influencer Chris Watkins

Industry influencer, Chris Watkin, interviewed me recently about my legal battle:



Chris Watkin made this comment to go along with the video.

"There are no shortcuts or quick wins to anything in life, including investing in property. So many landlords or potential landlords have had their fingers burnt and I am passionate that property training needs some form of regulation. Therefore, when I caught up with Vanessa at the PropertyMark Conference, I wanted to highlight the cause”, 

Those of you on LinkedIn might like to join and/or share this discussion started by Chris Watkin.

Join LinkedIn discussion about regulation of property trainers

Thank you to Chris for his support of my case.

Update 9

Vanessa Warwick

Dec. 18, 2021

Shining a light

Please see my new article:

Shining a light

Update 8

Vanessa Warwick

Dec. 17, 2021

The toxic rise of social media "property experts"

An excellent new article here by The Landlord of Property Investment Project fame.

The toxic rise of social media property experts

Thank you to everyone who has found there way here via this article, and I really appreciate your support!

Update 7

Vanessa Warwick

Dec. 16, 2021

Discussion with NRLA CEO, Ben Beadle

Yesterday, on the final "Landlord Lens" webinar of the year, which I host with NRLA CEO Ben Beadle, we discussed the wealth creation industry.

Update 6

Vanessa Warwick

Dec. 15, 2021

Ethan Leeds - Samuel's father's in on the harassment act?

On the 20th May 2019, I managed to get a malicious website called vanessawarwickexposed.com removed by the company hosting the site, as it was an abuse of their terms and conditions.

The following day, the 21st May, 2019 Samuel Leeds' father, Ethan Leeds made a very telling post on facebook asking about how to stop websites being taken down:



Quite amazing timing/coincidence don't you think?!

If you read my previous up-dates, I've now evidenced harassment from 5 males associated with the Samuel Leeds business:

Samuel Leeds

Russell Leeds

Alastair Cunningham

James Armstrong

Ethan Leeds

Further evidence that Samuel Leeds' business is very much a "family affair".

Update 5

Vanessa Warwick

Dec. 10, 2021

James Armstrong of Acquerir - evidence of harassment

James Armstrong is Samuel Leeds' brother in law and runs a company called Acquerir which offers "investors" a 66% fixed return on monies "invested" with them ( ( ... yes, let that sink in ... an interest rate of 66%.)

On the 20th May 2019, one day after the anonymous malicious communications campaign started against me, James Armstrong miraculously stumbled across the newly created website "vanessawarwickexposed.com" and shared in on Samuel's facebook group.

In a long and morally superior diatribe, he wrote how I was "chief inciter" of hatred against newbies trying to get onto the property ladder, that I "blatantly fabricated" arguments about Samuel Leeds, and that I "lacked the fortitude" to debate anything with Samuel Leeds.

(No evidence of the above claims was provided).

He then went on to suggest that I "step up" and meet with Samuel for an interview, and then helpfully provided a link to the newly created malicious website ... thus echoing the harassment for me to meet Samuel in person for an interview, the shared mission of all Samuel's own activities against me.

Mr. Armstrong finished with a long testimonial for how wonderful Samuel's training was without disclosing that he was his brother in law.

Samuel Leeds' business seems very much a "family affair".

Update 4

Vanessa Warwick

Dec. 7, 2021

Russell Leeds and Alastair Cunningham harassment evidence

I'd like to invite everyone reading this page to see how Samuel Leeds' brother  and CEO of his company, Russell along with his business partner Alastair Cunningham, participated in the harassment campaign against me by creating a video:

Russell Leeds and Alastair Cunningham harassment of Vanessa Warwick

Watch the video from 15 minutes onwards. The video was subsequently edited to remove some of the more harassing content, but there is still plenty left.

That the CEO of a business and another male associated with the business should join in with such harassing and juvenile content is quite extraordinary and speaks volumes about the morals and ethics of that business.

This pair tell multiple lies about me, and then conclude that I have a sexual obsession with Samuel Leeds. The video is humiliating and caused me distress, as you can imagine.

Although he is CEO of the company, when I rang Russell Leeds on the 19th May 2019 to ask for his support in stopping the malicious communications campaign against me, he said that he was unable to assist and that I had "to speak to Samuel". It seems strange that a CEO did not have any control or did not exhibit any desire to stop the company's brand being associated with malicious activity.

The above video is further evidence of the Leeds harassment campaign against me.

Update 3

Vanessa Warwick

Dec. 3, 2021

You did it!

Yay!  My initial target has been reached and exceeded!

Thank you to every single person who has supported this. I am so grateful.

I also got coverage in Property Industry Eye this morning.

I will now continue campaigning for my "stretch" target.

Thank you again for your generous and continued support.

Update 2

Vanessa Warwick

Dec. 2, 2021

You are making a positive difference

My dear CJ backers,

Thank you so much for your continued support.

I wanted to let you know that I believe this campaign is going to have a far-reaching and positive impact on protecting consumers because Samuel Leeds is not the only trainer promising what I call "a ticket to see a Unicorn".

The more people that are aware of what is happening here, the more awareness there will be of the dangers of unregulated property courses that cost many thousands of pounds - often which would equal the deposit on a BTL.

This is the first legal case of its kind that I am aware of, and I am committed to seeing it through and holding Samuel Leeds to account for his bullying and harassment of me.

If he can do this to me, what chance does a young and vulnerable person have of standing up to him and getting redress if they find out they have been mis-sold or do not receive what they paid for?

I am close to reaching my first target now, and a large portion of donations have come from sharing on social media, so please could I ask you if you could share again for me on twitter, facebook, Linked In, other property forums and groups etc.?

Also, if all my wonderful 240+ backers donated another £10.00, we could reach the target today!

This campaign is not just about me, it's about the thousands of people over the years who have lost life-changing amounts of money to property trainers and ended up with nothing to show for it, some people being in an even worse of position than before they met that trainer or mentor.

This could be your parents, your brother, your sister, your best friend ...

In his blogs, Samuel Leeds described me as a person who had failed at anything I had ever attempted in life, and that I was a sad, jealous, and bitter woman who envied his life and success.

Well, the above is completely false on all counts and I know that the people who matter know this.

Thank you all for having my back on this. Your support is appreciated more than you know and will make a positive difference. I am determined that it will.


Update 1

Vanessa Warwick

Nov. 28, 2021

This campaign will be a force of positive change

Thank you so much to every single person who has donated to my CJ campaign. It means more than you know.  You have raised £4K in less than 48 hours!

Whilst I am facing anxiety over this, I believe that I have been put in a very privileged position to change the "wealth creation" industry for good.

I am learning all about how to run a CrowdJustice campaign, and I will be providing a free support service to anyone who wants to follow in my footsteps.

Many people of limited financial means lose money to the "get rich quick in property industry" and they don't know the routes of legal redress or think they cannot afford legal advice to get justice.

Now they can, through this amazing CJ platform.  This is a game-changer for vulnerable people of limited financial means who have been sucked in by promises of easy riches and have lost what money you did have!  You now have a way forwards for legal redress.

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