Less than a month after receiving clearance to resume work at some properties in Chicago, the stars of HGTV's "Windy City Rehab" are being sued by a couple who purchased a home featured on the television program. The homeowners are trying to force the show's hosts to take back the house, which they claim is plagued by leaks and shoddy work, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Additionally, a subcontractor who worked on the same property is suing "Windy City Rehab" co-host Donovan Eckhardt and his company, Greymark Development Group, saying workers are still owed money from the project.
According to the homeowner's lawsuit, filed December 30 in the Cook County circuit court, the day after they closed on the Lincoln Square home, an upper-floor shower leaked gallons of water into the kitchen ceiling below. The lawsuit also calls out a leaky roof and poorly installed windows among other issues. The lawsuit names HGTV co-hosts Alison Gramenos (who goes by Alison Victoria on the show "Windy City Rehab") and Donovan Eckhardt as defendants, along with Eckhardt's Greymark Development Group, Alison Victoria Interiors, and contractor Ermin Pajazetovic.
While named in the homeowner's lawsuit against Victoria and Eckhardt, Pajazetovic's company, Space Builders, filed a lawsuit against Eckhardt and his company the same day the homeowners filed their complaint. Space Builders claims it is owed $108,500 for work performed on the property during the rehabilitation. A hearing for Space Builder's filing is scheduled for March 3.
The suit from homeowners Anna and James Morrissey cites defective and shoddy work, a breach of contract, a breach of warranty, and consumer fraud. The plaintiffs are seeking a reversal of the sale of the home and a reimbursement for $80,000 spent on upgrades and landscaping after purchasing the home. The plaintiffs also seek an unspecified amount for emotional distress and punitive damages.
The lawsuit states a promised new roof was never installed and the existing roof failed, causing leaks into the masonry, walls, and windows. The plaintiffs also claim water entered the home through windows in the master bathroom, master closet, and at the top of the second-floor stairs, large areas of masonry and mortar crumbled on the outside of the house, and the front door was installed incorrectly.
After reaching out to the defendants about the issues in the home, the plaintiffs hired another inspector, who found "nearly every window throughout the property was not installed correctly, [and] that a new roof was not installed," according to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs hired a new contractor to replace the roof at a cost of $37,400 and estimate fixing damage caused by the defectively installed windows and masonry will cost an additional $38,300. The lawsuit also estimates repairing the defective plumbing for the upstairs bathroom will cost nearly $10,000.
"Windy City Rehab" has been in the news frequently in recent months for many of the wrong reasons. Victoria and Eckhardt drew complaints from neighbors about trash, noise, and unsecured worksites used for homes featured on the show. In May 2019, Eckhardt's Greymark Development Group was hit with a stop-work order because a garage and garage deck completed at a Bucktown home were both built without permits. In July, the city of Chicago revoked the permit privileges of Greymark Development Group for a year, citing a pattern of unsafe working conditions and building code violations. Victoria and Eckhardt were allowed to resume work at some properties in December 2019 after the city of Chicago lifted nearly a dozen stop-work orders levied against the reality show co-stars. However, in the December ruling, the city still upheld bans on applying for new building permit applications.
According to HGTV, "Windy City Rehab" attracted 9.3 million viewers for the show's first month and a half. The show got picked up for a second season, with new episodes expected to air later in 2020.