Alison Victoria, a Chicago native and one of the stars of HGTV’s “Windy City Rehab” has said that she wants to take over Chicago and put her stamp on every neighborhood. Whether fellow Chicagoans want that is another matter, and one that is currently being handled (at least in part) in the courts since Victoria and her partner, Donovan Eckhardt, is being sued by the buyers of one of their home renovations.
The house at 2308 W. Giddings Street sold for $1.36 million after Victoria and Eckhardt gave it a makeover. The end of the episode featuring the house showed it looking fixed up with fresh paint and chic furniture, but according to the current residents, the rehab was only skin deep, while severe structural damage continues to cause problems.
When James and Anna Morrissey bought their new home, they knew the roof needed to be replaced and Victoria and her team assured the Morrissey’s they would replace the roof after the sale at no cost to the Morrisseys. But the repairs were so slow in coming, and the damage to the roof was so extensive and caused so many problems (including leaking water into the walls and rooms of the house), that the Morrisseys had to hire their own contractor to replace it, which allegedly cost them $37,400. Victoria reimbursed them for $15,625, but a check from Greymark (Eckhardt’s company) bounced.
Victoria offered to cover his portion, but the Morrisseys are fed up and ready to move out. In addition to the problems with the roof, an upstairs shower has leaked water into a light fixture in the kitchen. As if that weren’t bad enough, nearly every window that was installed by Victoria and her team was allegedly improperly installed, allowing water to leak into the walls and rooms of the house. The Morrisseys further allege that water has pooled next to the house and into a neighbor’s property, and the door was allegedly improperly installed, leaving it crooked.
The lawsuit features a string of texts, emails, and photos between the Morrisseys and Victoria and Eckhardt, not only showing the damage, but showing that the defendants knew about the damage and allegedly failed to take action. The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, breach of warranty, defective and shoddy work, and consumer fraud.
The problems allegedly started the day after the Morrisseys closed on the property, and now they’re asking a court to reverse the sale of the house. They want their $1.36 million back, in addition to the $80,000 they have allegedly invested into repairs of the house themselves, plus an unspecified amount for punitive damages and emotional distress.
The Morrisseys aren’t the only ones who are unhappy with the rehab work Victoria and Eckhardt’s team have been doing in the area. Neighbors living near work sites have complained of noise, trash, and unsecured work sites.
In July, Eckhardt and his company, Greymark Development Group, had their license suspended by the city of Chicago buildings department for having built three garages and garage decks without the necessary permits. They also allegedly endangered workers and neighbors by removing flooring and failing to put up the proper safety barriers.
Last year, the city issued several stop-work orders on various properties under rehab by Victoria and Eckhardt, including several properties that were featured on the show.
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