HGTV's Windy City Rehab Stars Sued for Fraud Over Allegedly Faulty $1.36 Million Chicago Home
Designer Alison Gramenos (who goes by Alison Victoria) and contractor Donovan Eckhardt are among those named in a lawsuit filed by homeowners Anna and James Morrissey on Dec. 30 in Cook County, Illinois.
According to the complaint, the $1.36 million home has faced “leaks and water penetration” from the windows, walls and ceilings — including an upstairs shower that allegedly “drained through the kitchen ceiling whenever it was used.” A “crooked” front door, crumbling exterior mortar, issues with garage floor and roof were also cited in the legal document.
The property’s rehabilitation was chronicled on a January 2019 episode of the show, with stand-in actors reacting to the remodel’s reveal since the Morrisseys did not want to appear on camera, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Attorneys for the Morrisseys declined to comment. A representative for HGTV had no comment on the suit, but confirmed season two of the show will air as planned in April 2020.
The lawsuit claiming fraud is only the latest in a series of issues the duo has faced this year.
In July 2019, Victoria and Eckhardt, faced threats of license suspensions and stop work orders on other projects in the city.
According to the Tribune, the Chicago Department of Buildings notified the co-stars that they would be unable to file new permit applications. The city has also moved to suspend Eckhardt’s real estate developer license and general contractor license for one year, citing that he had worked without a permit at 11 different properties.
At the time, HGTV told PEOPLE in a statement: “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.”
The show first premiered on HGTV in January 2019.
According to Gregg Cunningham, a spokesman for the department of buildings, Victoria and Eckhardt are 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,” Cunningham said.
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Last January, Victoria — who also recently appeared on HGTV’s Rock the Block — told PEOPLE Now about her passion for home-flipping in Chicago and why she wants to bring historical elements of the city back into its homes.
“We’re trying to make the neighborhood great and better, and we’re trying to bring the history back with the builds,” she said at the time, “so it’s not like we’re coming in, building crap and just trying to make a buck.”
WATCH THIS: Windy City Rehab‘s Allison Victoria Talks Flipping Homes
Victoria also shared insight into the home improvement business and tackling issues and setbacks as they arise in the process.
“We have 14 of these going on at the same time, so you’ve gotta keep it moving,” she said of her simultaneous projects. “And so, for me, it’s like, it’s unforeseen, but it’s also something that you kind of have to, like, say, ‘Hey, this could happen ….'”
She added: “Things you don’t expect are going to happen. How do you deal with them? Just be strong, honestly; hire the right people, first off, and be strong when these things happen, because you can’t let it set you back — you have to just kind of learn from your mistakes and make sure they don’t happen again.”