You probably know that HGTV star designer Alison Victoria (Gramenos) and Donovan Eckhardt, the lead contractor on her show Windy City Rehab, are currently embroiled in a lawsuit filed by two homeowners. But a source close to Alison Victoria has exclusively told House Beautiful that not only is her and Eckhardt's working relationship over—it ended almost a year ago.
Just last week, the news broke that a Chicago couple was suing Gramenos, Eckhardt, both of their companies (Alison Victoria Interiors Inc. and Greymark Development Group, respectively), and a sub-contractor for breach of contract, breach of warranty, defective and shoddy work, and consumer fraud. After purchasing their Lincoln Square home for $1.36M last year, James and Anna Morrissey claim the property was subject to leaks and water damage stemming from defective roof that was promised to be—but never—replaced.
That lawsuit was filed on December 30th. So if Gramenos and Eckhardt parted ways earlier last year, it was not because of—but rather long before—the lawsuit was filed. According to our source, the split occurred when news broke that the city was suspending Eckhardt's license for not pulling building permits. Our take? It sounds like a star designer got fed up with her developer-contractor's bad behavior and ended the relationship.
Tensions between Gramenos and Eckhardt are palpable in the language of the lawsuit: On December 4, after being informed that a check from Greymark for a portion of the roof repairs had bounced, Gramenos said, “if I have to cover [Eckhardt’s and/or Gremark’s] portion I will. I do not want him to f--- with my life or business any more than he already has.”
That, coupled with the discovery of a six-month-old Instagram post by Gramenos in which she references "our new general contractors," has led some to speculate that the pair's relationship is on the rocks. In reality, it's been dead in the water for some time.
According to The Chicago Tribune, in a court hearing today, Gramenos's attorneys asked a Cook County judge to dismiss the lawsuit in lieu of mediation, and Gramenos even offered to buy back the house from the plaintiffs. Neither Eckhardt nor his lawyers, for their part, showed up at the hearing. In light of all this, Windy City Rehab fans need not worry about their beloved show: According to HGTV, Season 2 is in production and will run as planned later this year.
We'll be tuning in, of course—and hoping that all this drama unfolds on TV.
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