The stars of HGTV's "Windy City Rehab" are facing a second lawsuit from homeowners alleging fraud and shoddy work on a home featured on the television program. The homeowners are demanding a refund of their $1.33 million purchase, and their suit also asks for a permanent injunction to force Discovery's HGTV to take Allison Victoria and Donovan Eckhardt off the air. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the plaintiffs Shane Jones and Samantha Mostaccio say it is "deceptive" for HGTV to portray Victoria and Eckhardt as "superstar experts" who create "compelling and stunning transformations."
Jones and Mastaccio's suit, filed April 10 in Cook County Circuit Court, names Alison Gramenos (who goes by the name Alison Victoria on the HGTV program) and Donovan Eckhardt along with their companies and contractors. The suit mainly focused on garage behind the property that Jones and Mostaccio wanted specifically renovated to allow one of the owners to perform individual pilates training and film videos to stream for a fitness business. According to the lawsuit, the garage work was never properly completed and the work that was complete was done without a building permit. As a result, the garage was left exposed to the elements and now has rotting wood, damaged drywall, and damaged electrical wiring, the lawsuit states.
The plaintiffs claim other problems exist on the property, including electrical outlets in the kitchen not up to code, water infiltrating the exterior walls of the home, poorly pitched landscaping, cracked concrete load-bearing columns, and a "sewage" odor and mold in the basement. The lawsuit claims close to $102,000 is needed in repairs.
An attorney for Victoria said the lawsuit was without merit and Victoria's contractor was trying complete repairs when plaintiff Jones kicked him off the property, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The attorney said the claims against Discovery/HGTV have no legal merit and "appear to have been added simply to sensationalize the pleading."
The lawsuit claims Victoria and Eckhardt were "desperate" to unload the home, having "every incentive to move it quickly and squeeze every last dime out of it."
The lawsuit from Jones and Mastaccio comes nearly three months after another couple sued Victoria and Eckhardt for shoddy work that led to an upper-floor shower leaking gallons of water, a leaky roof, and poorly installed windows. The plaintiffs in the first lawsuit, Anna and James Morrissey, are seeking the reversal of the sale of their $1.36 million home and a reimbursement for $80,000 spent on upgrades and landscaping on the home. The Morrissey's claim they were "deceived into thinking the hosts [of "Windy City Rehab"] were experts in their fields," and also called for the show to be pulled off television.
The latest lawsuit continues a series of tumultuous months for "Windy City Rehab." Victoria and Eckhardt drew complaints from neighbors about trash, noise, and unsecured worksites for homes featured on the show, and Eckhardt's Greymark Development Group was hit with a stop-work order related to building permits last May. Greymark Development Group had its permit privileges revoked for a year in the city of Chicago in July 2019. Victoria and Eckhardt were permitted to work on some properties in December 2019; however, the city upheld bans on applying for new building permits.
According to HGTV, "Windy City Rehab" attracted 9.3 million viewers for the show's first month and a half. The show was picked up for a second season, which is expected to air in July.