"Windy City Rehab's" Alison Victoria Explains Why She Filed a Lawsuit Against Donovan Eckhardt

Photo credit: Donovan Eckhardt / Instagram
Photo credit: Donovan Eckhardt / Instagram

From House Beautiful

In the latest episode of Windy City Rehab, Alison Victoria tries to tie up loose ends after ending her partnership with contractor and developer Donovan Eckhardt. However, in what she refers to as "the domino effect of Donovan," she is being held accountable for a number of Eckhardt’s crooked actions — so much so that she decided to sue her former business partner.

"I just filed my first lawsuit against Donovan," she says during the episode. She notes that she and Eckhardt have not been in contact and only communicate through their lawyers.

"I have people trying to sue me for the construction of the home, which I don’t do," she explains. As Victoria explained earlier in the season, their partnership was born under the agreement that Eckhardt would oversee construction and finances, while she focused on design. "And yet when the time comes to write checks, everybody looks to me because he won’t return anyone’s phone calls," Victoria laments. She estimates to have spent almost $700,000 of her own money on projects due to Eckhardt’s mishandling of their finances. As you may recall, Victoria officially had ended things with Eckhardt after an audit revealed he was allocating funds from their business account to his own company.

She explains that filing this lawsuit against Eckhardt is expensive and she is aware that she come out empty-handed from it. However, her priority lies in clearing her name and defending her reputation — and not necessarily getting her hands on the money that Eckhardt had taken from her.

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During the episode, Victoria also receives a text that makes her emotional. "If you only knew what comes into my phone," she says during a very candid moment. "I have people coming out of the woodwork. I have homeowners that are being contacted by the press. All I ever did, and all I’ve ever done, is design. Honestly…Sorry, guys, I’m freaking out."

Since Windy City Rehab's debut in January 2019, the former business partners had received several stop-work orders on properties they were renovating. Eckhardt also had both his general contractor and property development licenses suspended by the city and had allegedly missed at least 20 inspections on past projects. Not to mention, the former partners were sued by clients for "shoddy" work. In the episode, which was filmed over a year ago, Victoria does not mention why she is being sued. However, since filming wrapped, we have learned more about the cases.

In December 2019, Anna and James Morrissey sued Victoria and Eckhardt after their $1.36 million home had "leaks and water penetration” from the windows, walls and ceilings. They also claimed that the shower “drained through the kitchen ceiling whenever it was used." Victoria and Eckhardt were also sued by Shane Jones and Samantha Mostaccio for alleged negligent construction on their $1.3 million home, according to a complaint filed in April 2020 and obtained by People.

These cases appear to still be open. However, one thing is for sure: Victoria is done with Eckhardt.

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