Reality TV star Alison Victoria is fighting back against a lawsuit filed by a couple who bought a $1.33 million Bucktown home featured on the show “Windy City Rehab,” arguing that their complaints are without merit and should be thrown out of court.
In motions filed last week, an attorney for Victoria — whose real name is Alison Victoria Gramenos — argued the lawsuit should be dismissed and the other side should be sanctioned by the court.
Attorney Daniel Lynch called the allegations in the suit “misleading and baseless” in an emailed statement to the Chicago Sun-Times and said that Victoria’s business, Alison Victoria Interiors, and Discovery Inc.’s HGTV network were dragged into it “in an effort to create negative press attention” and bully Victoria into settling with the buyers.
The buyers of the white brick home at 1700 W. Wabansia Ave. filed a lawsuit in April against Victoria and co-star Donovan Eckhardt and their companies and contractors, alleging fraud and shoddy work and demanding a full refund.
The suit also asks for a permanent injunction to force HGTV to take Victoria and Eckhardt off the air, saying it is “deceptive” to portray them as “superstar experts.”
Their complaint mainly deals with a garage behind the property that homebuyers Shane Jones and Samantha Mostaccio wanted renovated so Mostaccio could have space for her pilates training business and to make videos for her fitness business. The couple claims the garage work wasn’t properly finished, and the work that was done was without a building permit, leading the city to shut down the site.
The lawsuit notes other problems the couple says they found, including electrical outlets in the kitchen not up to code; water infiltrating exterior walls of the home and garage; poorly pitched landscaping; cracked concrete load-bearing columns on the corner of the house; and a “sewage” odor and mold in the basement.
Lynch says Victoria’s contractor was trying to complete repairs when Jones barred him from the property. He adds that it’s not possible to claim theoretical losses from the fitness business.
Lynch is asking for sanctions again the plaintiffs and their attorney, whom he argues filed a lawsuit that “is so inaccurate, factually inconsistent and deliberately misleading” that the court should take action.
“Plaintiffs and their counsel took a straightforward dispute and complicated it for improper reasons. There was a final inspection scheduled, and Plaintiffs cancelled it on the day it was to be conducted. Then, plaintiffs’ counsel filed a complicated 130-page complaint with thirteen numbered counts seeking damages that are not recoverable,” Lynch said in his emailed statement to the Sun-Times.
The difficulties faced in renovating the home were featured in an episode titled “House of Horrors.” At one point on the show, a worker screams, “There is a big leak in the garage.” When Victoria sees the water pouring in through the deck, she exclaims, “Oh my god.”
Lynch says that because that episode aired before the house was purchased, “any claim that those matters were concealed from plaintiff makes no sense.”
He added that the couple closed on the house after getting an inspection and going over a final punch list.
“Then, just before the lawsuit was filed, a new expert was hired who generated an entirely new punch list. There is nothing in the contract that allows that.”
Attorney Nicole Daniel of Dinsmore & Shohl LLP of Chicago, who is representing the home buyers, declined to comment Wednesday.
Eckhardt and the attorney for subcontractor Ermin Pajazetovic did not respond to emails seeking comment.
Eckhardt and Pajazetovic are tangled up in separate litigation involving two other properties that are not part of the show. And Victoria has publicly split with her former co-star Eckhardt.
Both Victoria and Eckhardt remain suspended from seeking any new building permits in the city, a city Buildings Department spokeswoman said Wednesday. The suspensions will remain in effect until they correct all code issues with previous projects.
The 1700 W. Wabansia lawsuit claims Victoria and Eckhardt, who paid $780,000 for the property and sunk another $520,000 into renovations, were desperate to unload the home.
It is the second lawsuit filed by purchasers of a home on “Windy City Rehab.”
The couple that bought a home at 2308 W. Giddings St. in Lincoln Square sued Victoria and Eckhardt in December, alleging problems with leaks and shoddy work.
Victoria has said the second season of “Windy City Rehab” is expected to air in July.