After facing the wrath of the city’s Department of Buildings for code violations last summer, the personalities behind HGTV’s Chicago-based home flipping show Windy City Rehab find themselves at the center of a new controversy. A couple which paid $1.36 million for a Lincoln Square property featured in the show is now suing co-hosts Alison Victoria and Donovan Eckhardt for shoddy work.
The lawsuit alleges the home was sold with defective plumbing, a leaking roof, masonry issues, and ill-fitting windows. It claims a “breach of contract, breach of warranty, and consumer fraud,” reported the Chicago Sun-Times.
The couple wants Victoria and Eckhardt to buy back the property and reimburse them for $80,000 worth of upgrades, such as a replacement roof that was allegedly promised by Eckhardt and Victoria but never materialized.
The lawsuit is the latest headache for the reality show. In 2019, the city threw the book at the hosts for more than a dozen building violations, including failing to comply with safety codes, working without proper permits, employing unlicensed workers, and selling properties without the required inspections.
Multiple Windy City Rehab projects received temporary stop-work orders, and Eckhardt and Victoria were barred from applying for future permits. Though many of the construction stoppages were eventually lifted, at least one property—a three-flat renovation in East Ukrainian Village—recently got hit with another work suspension order on December 11, according to Block Club Chicago.
Amid all the drama, it seems that Alison Victoria (whose real name is Alison Gramenos) is cutting business ties with co-host and general contractor Donovan Eckhardt. According to a text message attached to the lawsuit, Victoria pledged to cover Eckhardt’s half of a reimbursement payment to the Lincoln Square property owners after his portion of the check bounced. “I do not want him to f--- with my life or business any more than he already has,” she wrote.
Season two of Windy City Rehab, which kicked off production in mid-2019, is expected to debut on HGTV in “summer 2020,” Victoria recently tweeted to fans.