‘Windy City Re­hab’ re­turns Sept. 15 de­spite trou­ble with city, neigh­bors, pan­demic

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY STEPHANIE ZIM­MER­MANN, STAFF RE­PORTER sz­im­mer­mann@sun­times.com | @SZRe­ports

De­spite prob­lems with neigh­bors, buy­ers, City Hall and coro­n­avirus as well as a blame­filled breakup be­tween its home-flip­ping hosts, the re­al­ity TV show “Windy City Re­hab” will be back for Sea­son 2 next month, Dis­cov­ery Inc.’s HGTV said Tues­day.

HGTV said Chicago de­signer Ali­son Vic­to­ria Gra­menos — who goes by just Ali­son Vic­to­ria as she buys, re­habs and flips homes — will ap­pear in five new 90-minute episodes premier­ing 8 p.m. Sept. 15.

And it sounds like Gra­menos’ prob­lems will be part of the TV drama. The net­work said the star “could lose it all” as she faces “mul­ti­ple un­ex­pected chal­lenges.”

Two cou­ples who bought lux­ury homes in Lin­coln Square and Buck­town in Sea­son 1 ended up su­ing Gra­menos and her then-con­trac­tor/co-host Dono­van Eck­hardt, ac­cus­ing them of shoddy con­struc­tion and de­mand­ing their money back.

Gra­menos ac­cused the Buck­town buy­ers of fil­ing a “mis­lead­ing and base­less” suit to try to bully her into set­tling out of court. Their court fight re­mains un­re­solved.

Chicago’s build­ings depart­ment is­sued stop-work or­ders at sev­eral of Gra­menos’ and Eck­hardt’s work­sites and at one point sus­pended the con­trac­tor’s li­cense of Eck­hardt, who owns Grey­mark Devel­op­ment Group.

His li­cense got re­in­stated, but the city is con­tin­u­ing to pur­sue ad­min­is­tra­tive cases against Gra­menos and Eck­hardt and has barred them from get­ting any new build­ing per­mits. They “and any and all busi­ness en­ti­ties owned by ei­ther of them are still sus­pended from sub­mit­ting per­mit ap­pli­ca­tions on any new prop­er­ties, and all as­so­ci­ated court cases are still ac­tive,” a City Hall spokesman said Tues­day.

Sep­a­rately, a north sub­ur­ban man and his fam­ily who said they in­vested $3 mil­lion in the prop­er­ties be­ing re­habbed have sued Gra­menos and Eck­hardt, ac­cus­ing them of run­ning “a de­lib­er­ate and fraud­u­lent scheme to mis­ap­pro­pri­ate funds,” “bungling” and gross mis­man­age­ment of “nearly every project they were as­so­ci­ated with.”

Amid the ac­cu­sa­tions, Gra­menos said last year of Eck­hardt, the man she once called her “work hus­band,” that she did “not want him to f--- with my life or busi­ness any more than he al­ready has.”

HGTV said that, on Sea­son 2, “as Ali­son con­tin­ues her work to trans­form his­toric fixer-up­pers, she must man­age a strained busi­ness re­la­tion­ship, con­tend with per­mit de­lays and bat­tle stop-work or­ders. Dur­ing the sea­son, un­prece­dented set­backs put the skilled de­signer’s rep­u­ta­tion and liveli­hood on the line, but Ali­son loves her city and won’t give up with­out a fight.”

The net­work quoted Gra­menos, who has co­hosted an­other HGTV se­ries this sum­mer, as say­ing her work in Chicago “has tested me in more ways than I could have ever imag­ined.”

HGTV

Ali­son Vic­to­ria Gra­menos’ “Windy City Re­hab” will be back for Sea­son 2 on HGTV start­ing Sept. 15.

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