‘Windy City Rehab’ Star Files Defamation Lawsuit

Alison Victoria

Getty Alison Victoria of "Windy City Rehab" is being sued by former partner Donovan Eckhardt.

Alison Victoria is an interior designer and host of HGTV‘s “Windy City Rehab.” She’s also appeared on both seasons of “Rock the Block,” “Tye Breakers,” “Windy City Flip,” “Flipping Across America” and on the DIY Network’s “Kitchen Crashers.”

Fans of “Windy City Rehab” know what a tough time Alison had with her former business partner Donovan Eckhardt. From what we could see of their disagreements, Donovan definitely came across as the bad guy. However, he has said that creative editing made him look like the villain and filed a defamation lawsuit in Chicago’s Cook County against the producers of “Windy City Rehab,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported on October 5.

A judge in Cook County dismissed the lawsuit, according to the outlet, saying it is outside of her jurisdiction as Donovan’s contract is out of California. Donovan is not backing down and he’s filed a second defamation lawsuit in California, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Here’s what you need to know:

Donovan Has a Definite Beef With the People Behind ‘Windy City Rehab’

Donovan’s working relationship with Alison (real last name Gramenos) disintegrated during season 2 of HGTV’s “Windy City Rehab.” During the season, Alison complained that Donovan was spending money recklessly and in one instance accused him of stealing money. Donovan has made it clear that he believes creative editing was employed to paint him as a villain and a thief, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

According to the outlet, he is suing HGTV parent company Discovery Inc. and Big Table Media, the production company being the hit show. Alison is not named in the lawsuit, per Deadline. The lawsuit states that he was made out to be the bad guy to boost ratings, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. His original lawsuit in Cook County said, “Nothing in this carefully scripted, choreographed, and edited scene is true,” the outlet reported. That statement refers to a scene in an episode where Alison wonders aloud what Donovan did with the money he was paid for construction services.

“Where did the money go? I don’t know what to believe anymore because for so long I was letting him run all the budgets, do the bank draws, deal with the bank accounts, and I just was designing,” she said in the episode, via the Chicago Sun-Times.

Donovan’s lawsuit stated that he spoke with Alison several times a day and she was “intimately involved in the creation of every budget.”

Donovan’s Business Has Been Decimated as a Result of the Claims on ‘Windy City Rehab’

Donovan’s lawsuit filed in California reveals that his business, Greymark Development Group, has taken a big hit. In December 2019, Greymark had revenue near $1.5 million, the Chicago Sun-Times revealed; for the same time period in 2020, the company had just $251,565 in revenue. He’s also been cut off from the $3,500 per episode he made on “Windy City Rehab,” according to the outlet.

Additionally, the lawsuit states that “Donovan has suffered emotional injuries including anxiety, depression, diminished self-esteem, loss of sleep, loss of appetite, inability to concentrate and embarrassment, and has been undergoing continuous counseling and behavioral treatment,” per Deadline. He’s in counseling and seeking more than $2 million in damages, the outlet reported.

Donovan’s California-based attorney Ognian Gavrilov said via the Chicago Sun-Times, “The facts, as I see them, are very strong. There was a catastrophic event against his business because it was represented as a bunch of crooks. You can’t do that and then not explain ‘It’s just a TV show’ because the viewers assume it’s all real. They don’t understand there’s a distinction between reality and TV, even when the TV show represents itself as reality.”

Donovan left “Windy City Rehab” in the middle of season two.

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