HGTV’s ‘Windy City Rehab’ Hosts Sued For Fraud Over Allegedly Faulty $1.36 Million HomePublished on January 7, 2020.
Buyers of a home that was featured on HGTV’s Windy City Rehab are suing the show’s hosts for fraud after allegedly finding leakages and other construction problems.
Designer Alison Victoria (real name Alison Gramenos) and contractor Donovan Eckhardt are named (alongside others) in the lawsuit filed by homeowners Anna and James Morrissey on December 30, 2019, in Cook County, Illinois.
According to the suit, the $1.36 million home has encountered “leaks and water penetration” from windows, walls, and ceilings – another example of this includes an upstairs shower that allegedly “drained through the kitchen ceiling whenever it was used.” Other complaints included a “crooked” front door, crumbling exterior mortar, problems with garage floor and roof were also included in the document.
The house’s reconstruction was documented on a January 2019 episode of Windy City Rehab, which included stand-in actors reacting to the home’s remodel reveal, since the couple who purchased the home didn’t want to appear on camera, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Attorneys for the property owners declined to issue a comment at this time. A representative for HGTV has also not commented on the lawsuit, but did confirm a season two of the show which is planned to premiere in April 2020.
This is just another fraud lawsuit that Victoria and Eckhardt have faced this year.
In July 2019, the duo faced threats of license suspensions and stop work orders on separate projects in the city.
According to the Tribune, the Chicago Department of Buildings notified the Windy City Rehab stars that they would be unable to file any new permit applications. The city of Chicago has also moved to suspend Eckhardt’s real estate developer license and general contractor license for one year, they cited that he has worked without a permit at 11 different properties.
During this controversy, HGTV issued a statement to PEOPLE, reading: “Issues related to Windy City Rehab have been carefully reviewed. Appropriate parties are in communication with local building officials and working to resolve any outstanding issues.”
Windy City Rehab first debuted on HGTV in January 2019.
The duo resumed work in November when the stop work orders issued in July were lifted, as reported by Block Club Chicago at the time.
Gregg Cunningham, a spokesman for the department of buildings, disclosed that the duo was only able to go back to work on existing buildings as the orders were lifted “to correct past violations.”
“We’re still monitoring the work closely, watching for any attempt to file a permit using a different name. [We are] watching closely for any attempt to circumvent our process here,” he said.