Windy City Rehab Fraud?

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Windy City Rehab is an awesome reality show on HGTV. Alison Victoria (legal name Alison Gramenos) and Donovan Eckhardt are the faces of the show, and they find properties in Chicago to rehab and sell. But construction projects don’t always go as planned, and a lawsuit filed in Cook County on December 30 alleges that the Windy City Rehab team defrauded James and Anna Morrissey.

In March 2019, the Morrisseys bought a 4,000 square foot home at 2308 West Giddings Street in Lincoln Square for $1.36 million. The property was sold for $645,000 in October 2017 and then underwent renovations featured on an episode of Windy City Rehab.  (You can even see this episode next week, 6pm central on January 14!)

The couple says that the house leaks… that the day after they closed the shower on the second floor leaked gallons of water into the kitchen. They say they paid for a new roof, but that the old roof was simply repaired and now it leaks. The windows allegedly were installed improperly throughout the house, with water coming in the windows in the master bathroom and the bedrooms. The Morriseys further say that the masonry and mortar are crumbling on the outside of the house, and the front door is crooked.

The Morriseys have allegedly been trying to get Gramenos and Eckhardt to fix the problems with the house but have not had any success. The new owners paid $37,400 to have the roof replaced and were reimbursed more than $20,000, but they want the rest of that cost covered. The window repairs will cost $38,300 and plumbing repairs will cost $9,600. An inspector hired by the Morrisseys says there are 13 serious problems (roof, chimney, downspouts, mortar, windows) and 21 moderate problems. They want the sale of the home reversed and they want $80,000 they paid for upgrades and landscaping.

The show did well, but naturally, some people hate the Windy City Rehab crew. The premise behind the show is taking modest homes and turning them into million dollar properties. A rundown two-flat is purchased and turned into a single family home with luxury finishes.

But neighbors complain about the same thing EVERYONE next to a construction site complains about: noise, dirt, construction vehicles, and trash.  And of course they complain that the renovated houses change the neighborhoods. Sure, when you upgrade a property, the value goes up. That might increase the value of the surrounding homes too.  (Interestingly, one woman even complained that the renovations brought in new neighbors that she doesn’t know. Sigh.)

I will be interested to hear more about the fraud allegations in this case. Were the new owners lied to in the process of the sale? Or did they simply end up buying a house that needs additional work due to unforeseen problems in the construction process?

 

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