The villa is very Eddie. Dominating a hilltop in northern Lebanon, the Obeids' sandstone mansion features 17 archways, a domed roof, a swimming pool and a terraced garden. The master bedroom looks out towards an ancient grove of cedar trees. A lift well connects three storeys, including the basement "teenager's retreat". Both Obeid's ambition and taste for luxury are evident in the $US1.2 million ($1.6 million) renovation plan of the home bequeathed by his father. "I want it to be a place my grandchildren can say, 'This is where our grandfather was born'," he said in 2013. "It's a legacy to the family." Except the pool is empty, unlined, the staircase untiled. An overturned wheelbarrow rusts in one of the rooms upstairs. The "teenager's retreat" contains a mouldy cushion, a lawn mower and wire. Relatives in Obeid's home village of Metrit say the renovation is in limbo. They have not seen the former Labor powerbroker and convicted criminal they call Edward for more than a decade. A rare summer rain fell when Fairfax Media visited in late August. "Press?" asked one villager, less used to tourists. "Are you against Obeid?" asked a relative, wary of tales that have spread from the NSW Supreme Court to the village's fig-covered lawns. Another laughed while making a throat-slitting motion. Metrit, population 100, with no transport and no school, is the ancestral home of the Obeids and many Lebanese-Australian families who fled during two decades of conflict between the 1970s and 1990s. "Eddie done very well during the civil war," said one of his relatives, who asked not to be named, after serving Fairfax Media a banquet lunch of tabbouleh, marinated eggplant, rice and supreme pizza. "Too many people, their house had been destroyed, he talked to the government and took them over there to Australia." Obeid's migration work made him a popular figure in the mainly Maronite Catholic village. He is also the reason a 40-house hamlet with no shop has a nine-person council. He lobbied his Lebanese government connections for the village – ahead of other, much larger places – to become a municipality with hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funding for roads, electricity and water. "You're born here, you grew up here, that's his village," said the relative. "He was good to everybody." News, if not the finer details, of Obeid's Australian court "troubles" have reached the village's inhabitants, who are unlikely to see Metrit's most famous political son anytime soon. Obeid, who recently suffered a stroke, had to surrender his passport last year to the NSW Supreme Court. He was tried over allegations he lobbied a maritime official without disclosing family business interests in Circular Quay cafes. Convicted in June, he now faces a possible jail sentence. At the same time, Obeid and his son Moses face trial over a $30 million coal deal. "Everyone can make a mistake," says the relative. "No one deserves to be destroyed." Obeid still calls every month, says another, reflecting his emotional attachment to the village in which he and his five siblings were born. In 2002, Obeid told Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star the Lebanese diaspora "not only feel nostalgia for their country" but also contribute to the country's economic development. But Obeid has also been accused of becoming too involved in local affairs. More than a decade ago he intervened in a mayoral election to support a Shiite Muslim candidate over his Christian niece, Yolla Obeid. Having requested two months' parliamentary leave to attend to "urgent family business" in Lebanon, Obeid arranged for 22 people to fly in and vote for his preferred candidate. The politicking was allegedly an attempt to shore up Muslim support in case Obeid decided to enter Lebanese politics. But signs suggest Obeid's influence in a place 14,000 kilometres from Macquarie Street is on the wane. George Elias – a key Obeid backer who said in 2013 the authorities would "never get anything against him" – no longer serves as Metrit mayor. And no work has been completed on the Obeid mansion for years, according to locals. Labourers were on site in 2013 but their abandoned work boots now house spiders. Obeid declined to comment on the progress of his home. "You take the risk and write what you want," he said, One resident said there were no laws in Lebanon requiring completion of the home. The monument to the Obeid family could stand, incomplete, for decades in the town he once influenced from continents away.