ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Leland Kent says he loves exploring abandoned properties. If you check out his social media pages you will see an abandoned casino boat, funeral homes, a juvenile detention center and so many other parts of Florida history, now falling into disrepair.
That includes a house once owned by Osama Bin Laden’s brother, Khalil. It sits on a lake in Oakland, near Clermont.
Kent said he originally visited the property back in 2016. He thought it was vacant, but when he walked up to the front of the property he was greeted by its new owner. Kent said the man invited him in and showed him around.
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Now, years later Kent said he returned to the property and found many of the valuable wood that adorned the house and even some of the chandeliers have been taken out.
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“Some of the features are starting to disappear over the years. I just want to capture it before everything is completely gone,” Kent said.
So, he took videos and pictures and posted them to his social media pages.
“It’s not really a creepy property like a lot of people try to make it out to be. It’s really a beautiful old house.” he said.
The house has a lot of history.
“It’s almost approaching 100 years old now. It was built in the 1920′s. Originally owned by a guy who was a chemist for Jello. From there it went through the hands of the owner of the Tupperware company and after that ended up then in the 1980′s in the hands of Osama Bin Laden’s Brother, Khalil. He owned it up until 9/11 when they were flown out,” Kent said.
Though it has had several owners, Kent said the stigma of the Bin Laden family remains.
“Every owner that’s owned this property has had nothing but bad luck with it,” he said.
The Bin Laden Mansion is just one of the many Florida properties Kent has explored and shared with people across the country and around the world.
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“I do this because it fascinates me and I just enjoy it. (Exploring abandoned properties) started off as a hobby, this was just something I found to be interesting. You see those places on the side of the road you want to stop and take a look and see what’s inside, I guess that’s just the curious kid in me,” he said.
Kent said when he goes inside abandoned properties, he takes pictures and videos but only leaves behind footprints.
His videos and pictures have been featured on several shows and even helped him to land a publishing deal in 2018.
He has since published six books highlighting abandoned properties across the Southeast.
To learn more about his passion, the unique properties he has toured and the history behind them check out Florida’s Fourth Estate. The podcast can be downloaded from wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also watch anytime on News 6+. Just download the app to your smart TV and start watching.