Discovery-owned HGTV remains committed to the production of season two of Windy City Rehab two days after the Chicago Tribune revealed that the city’s Department of Buildings has notified the show’s hosts, Alison Victoria Gramenos (pictured, left) and Donovan Eckhardt (right), that they cannot file new permit applications and that the city is moving to suspend Eckhardt’s real estate developer and general contractor licenses for a year.
The issue comes down to a series of allegations relating to proper permits and safety on work sites overseen by the pair.
Windy City Rehab sees Gramenos (who goes by Alison Victoria on the show) buying fixer uppers in Chicago and transforming them into high-end homes in the hopes of attracting buyers.
“Issues related to Windy City Rehab have been carefully reviewed,” an HGTV spokesperson said in a statement shared with Realscreen. “Appropriate parties are in communication with local building officials and working to resolve any outstanding issues. Season two of the series is currently in production.”
According to the Tribune, orange “stop-work” signs were posted on properties Gramenos and Eckhardt were working on, though it’s unclear if any of the buildings were set to be featured in the second season of the home reno show.
The pair can’t apply for new permits because they allegedly performed or directed work that required a permit without having that permit, work outside of approved plans without the appropriate permission, work that resulted in a stop-work order and work that poses an immediate or imminent threat to the health and safety of workers or the public. They also allegedly made a false statement on a permit application or aided and abetted another in making a false statement.
Eckhardt’s licenses are under threat of being revoked because he allegedly failed to schedule final inspections of residential units and allowed them to be sold and occupied before final inspections.
“The Dept. of Buildings takes this issue very seriously and takes action against developers and contractors who perform work that compromises safety for the public, workers or building occupants,” said Buildings department spokesman Gregg Cunningham, in a widely-circulated statement first published in the Tribune. “We have been monitoring the work of [Eckhardt's company] Greymark Development Group closely and have taken progressive disciplinary actions to stop what has become a pattern of unsafe work and building code violations at multiple properties.”
Big Table declined to comment when reached by Realscreen.
Season one premiered in January. It was renewed for a second season in March.
(Photo courtesy of HGTV)