HGTV Star Speaks Out on Permit Issues That Halted Projects in Chicago

Alison Gramenos, who goes by Alison Victoria on the show, addressed the controversy surrounding her work in Chicago in an Instagram post Sunday

The star of HGTV's "Windy City Rehab" spoke out for the first time this week after news that Chicago officials suspended her permit privileges and those of co-star Donovan Eckhardt. 

In thanking her fans for their recent support, Alison Gramenos, who goes by Alison Victoria on the show, addressed the controversy surrounding her work in Chicago in an Instagram post Sunday.

"I want you to hear it from me directly that I am working closely with the City of Chicago to repair and amend any and all permits with our new general contractors," she wrote. "The building department says they are pleased with our efforts and we will continue to work closely together to move in the right direction." 

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Gramenos and Eckhardt are facing trouble with their latest construction projects after Chicago officials suspended their permit privileges and may pull their license entirely. 

The Chicago Department of Buildings said it has suspended Greymark Development Group, owned by Eckhardt, from pulling permits in Chicago. The city also moved to suspend the group's licenses for one year, according to Department of Buildings spokesperson Gregg Cunningham. 

Greymark Development Group and Eckhardt appealed the suspension but their appeal was denied, records show. 

"The city has not yet made a final determination on whether the license suspension will be upheld," Cunningham said in a statement. 

In addition, all LLCs associated with Gramenos have been suspended from pulling permits. That suspension has been appealed but the city has not ruled on whether the suspension will be upheld. 

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"Issues related to Windy City Rehab have been carefully reviewed," HGTV said in a statement. "Appropriate parties are in communication with local building officials and working to resolve any outstanding issues." 

According to the suspension notice for Gramenos' LLCS, allegations include performing or directing work without proper permits, making false statements on permit applications and performing or directing "work that poses an immediate or imminent threat to the health and safety of workers or the public." 

Footage from one of the group's properties at 1846 N. Damen Ave., formerly the Miko's Italian Ice dessert shop, showed an orange stop work sign Tuesday. Other properties listed in the notice - including ones at 1924 W. Berenice Ave., 1815 W. Augusta Blvd., and 3352 S. Carpenter - also had similar signs, the Chicago Tribune reports. It remains unclear which homes were set to be featured on the show's second season. 

The latest permit problems come after a stop worker order was issued at a Bucktown home that was set to be featured on the show. 

The Chicago Sun-Times reports these aren't the first problems to face one of the show’s properties.

According to the publication, city officials met with Eckhardt on March 22 after two earlier stop work orders at a different Bucktown project. There, neighbors had complained about noise, trash and unsecured work sites.

Earlier this year, HGTV said the new Chicago-based series was “on pace to rank as the network’s highest-rated freshman series in more than a year.” The network ultimately picked up 10 new episodes for the show’s second season, calling it a “millennial favorite.”

The show has garnered more than 9.3 million viewers since its premiere in January, the network reported in February.

Gramenos, who previously hosted “Kitchen Crashers” on HGTV, called it her “dream to flip houses” in her hometown.

Gramenos, who was writing from Los Angeles where she is filming a new special with HGTV, said in her post that the second season of Windy City Rehab is in production. 

"I can't wait to get back home to Chicago to continue building beautiful places and spaces for all of you to see in early 2020!" she wrote. 

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