Afternoon Edition: Dec. 28, 2021

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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“Windy City Rehab” cut two versions of an episode in which its host boasted that she “knocked it out of the park” after the rehab and sale of this Lincoln Park home. She made no mention of the new buyer’s identity — her boyfriend.


Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Top story

When a $2.2M home sale fell through on ‘Windy City Rehab,’ Alison Victoria found a buyer to bail her out: Her boyfriend

At the start of the first season of her wildly popular home flipping show, “Windy City Rehab,” host Alison Victoria boasted about collecting a tidy sum for a property she renovated in Lincoln Park.

“I think I knocked it out of the park,” she said on the HGTV show — which originally aired in early 2019 — of a $780,000 profit after she said she had closed a $2.2 million sale of a brick multi-unit rental building at 2433 N. Janssen Ave.

But at some point last year, another version of the episode was created. In this one, her comments recounting the specific sale price and profit margin were edited out. A graphic that airs with every episode was also altered to show a reduced sale price of $1.567 million, with a substantially lower profit of $147,000.

This version, which can be streamed on YouTube and HGTV’s website, makes no reference of the earlier sales price or profit margin. In the episode, she still claims “Janssen was a huge success,” as she did in the first version.

So what happened?

It’s unclear, but the original $2.2 million deal that Victoria bragged about in the episode does not appear in public records. Instead, her boyfriend, Michael Marks, ended up buying the place months later under an LLC registered to his name that’s titled 2229 N. CLYBOURN AVE., LLC, state records show.

Neither version of the show mentions who the original buyer was — or Marks.

Marks, who works at Cushman Wakefield, a commercial real estate firm, acknowledges he indeed bought the property — but said in an email to the Sun-Times that it was done at “arm’s length” and approved “by all stakeholders.”

Mitch Dudek has more on the “Windy City Rehab” discrepancy here.

More news you need

  1. Congressman Bobby Rush has tested positive for COVID-19, his office announced last night. “I am feeling fine and currently have no symptoms,” Rush said of the breakthrough case.
  2. A man accused of firing at Chicago police officers in University Village on Christmas Eve didn’t know he was shooting at cops and was just trying to scare off gunmen who were coming at him, his attorney argued yesterday. The 29-year-old wasn’t present at his bond hearing Sunday because he was hospitalized after he was wounded in the exchange of gunfire.
  3. Arguably, Illinois’ biggest political story this year was Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the few elected Republicans in the entire nation willing to take on the Trump wing of the GOP — and it cost him his career in the House. Sun-Times Washington correspondent Lynn Sweet took a look back on Kinzinger’s year and previews state politics in 2022.
  4. From “1883” to “Impeachment,” “Mare of Easttown” and more, Richard Roeper’s list of favorite TV series of 2021 has a little something for everyone. Peter Jackson’s documentary series “The Beatles: Get Back” claimed the top spot on the Sun-Times critic’s list.

A bright one

Field Museum’s snake expert is tickled pink about new job

The elevator sinks below the ground floor, the control panel displaying its descent as it reaches the basement and keeps going.

The doors open onto a corridor that looks like part of a 1950s nuclear fallout shelter. Then, through a set of double doors into a vast, windowless chamber with thousands upon thousands of sealed glass jars, each filled with a urine-yellow liquid and creatures, many of which have been dead for a very long time.

The afternoon’s guide through the “wet collection” is Sara Ruane, the Field Museum’s new assistant curator of herpetology, aka, its snake expert. She’s no fusty academic, mumbling terms incomprehensible to all but her peers.


Sara Ruane, the Field Museum’s new assistant curator of herpetology, in a lab in the museum’s sub-basement.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Ruane, 39, has traveled much of the globe in search of snakes and is blessed with an ability to entrance her audience like, well, a snake charmer.

She’s in charge of about 300,000 specimens of reptiles and amphibians.

After the lab visit, it’s up to Ruane’s office on the museum’s third floor. One wall is lined with, as you might expect, scholarly volumes about snakes, organized by geographical region. Less expected: a hot-pink velvet chair, a pink mini-fridge, even a pink-handled snake “hook.”

“A big part of my love of the color pink is that although I work in a field that is dominated in many ways still by men, I consider myself pretty ultra-feminine in my style, in the kinds of things I like outside of work,” Ruane says. “Pink is by far my favorite color.”

Stefano Esposito has more on Ruane’s journey here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

As we face another COVID-19 surge, what are your plans for New Year’s Eve?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday we asked you: What does your post-Christmas recovery look like?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Not bad! The discarded wrapping paper is ready to be recycled on Wednesday. Slowly but surely the leftovers are almost gone. Some are put in the freezer for future use. I have nothing to exchange and my tree is up till next Sunday! Christmas 2021 almost in the history books! Fun was had by all!” — Barbara Crowley

“Margaritas.” — Mark S. Pounovich

“Corona Christmas. Very quiet.” — Julie Gottlieb

“Going dancing today!” — Cindy Fagiano

“Resting in peace off work.” — Olivia Fleming

“Selling my soul to pay my credit card.” — Kari Mathias

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