Her wildly popular show on home flipping was just beginning its first season. “Windy City Rehab,”Alison Victoria boasted of her impressive collection for a Lincoln Park property she renovated.
“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.
The episode was remade last year. In this version, her comments about the exact sale price and profit margin were deleted. The graphic that airs with each episode was also modified to show a lower sale price of $1.567million and a significantly lower profit of $147,000
This version can be streamed via YouTube HGTV’s websiteShe does not make any reference to the profit margin or sales price at that time. She claims that she still believes “Janssen was a huge success,”She did in the first version.
So what happened?
It’s unclear, but theoriginal $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 it was done at “arm’s length”Approved “by all stakeholders.”
He said that the deal was “not concealed in any way”And was “conducted after the airing of that episode; and … concludedafter offering thepropertyfor sale to other prospective purchasers.”
The home at 2433 N. Janssen Ave.
In a follow-up email he said he didn’t know the specifics of the original planned sale.
“I don’t recall the exact details from their show, nor was I privy to other bids the ownership group received, but I do recallthey felt it was sold to a different party at the time of airing,”He wrote. “I wasn’t aware [of] that sale, or any other, [and] didn’t end up closing until much later.”
He said that the price he agreed on allowed Victoria to still make a substantial profit. “My evaluation was based on market conditions and underwriting dynamics at a particular moment.”
Asked about his relationship to Victoria, which has been documented in multiple media stories about her — including in People magazine — he said: “I don’t have a comment … because the nature of the relationship, if it did exist at all, was personal.”
Daniel Lynch, an attorney for Victoria — whose full name is Alison Victoria Gramenos — said in an emailed statement that she did nothing wrong.
“We will not confirm or deny the identities of people with whom Ms. Gramenos has personal relationships because by their nature, those relationships are personal and ought not to be fodder for business stories published in the Sun-Times.”
He also added: “As to the insinuation that the deal was somehow improper, be advised that no element of the transaction was concealed from anyone involved.”
A spokesperson for Discovery Inc., the owner of HGTV, did no respond to requests for comment.
According to the show Victoria paid $850,000 initially for the property and spent $570,000 renovating it.
After some handwringing about whether the high cost rehabbing of the property would pay off, she congratulated herself.
“We actually sold it, even after adding the basement laundry area and all the high-end finishes, we still ended up making a profit,”She spoke on the show.
Victoria used reclaimed lumber from a Chicago barn to build some of the units on her Janssen Avenue property.
She stated that although all four units in the building were rented when the show first aired, three units were left unrented for four months. The Sun-Times reported this in March 2019. Several units had still had boards up windows when the newspaper visited.
“They said they rented all four, which is laughable,” neighbor Tim Johnson said at the time, although he appreciated the building’s rehab.
Months after it was featured in an episode of, the windows at Lincoln Park were still boarded up. “Windy City Rehab.”
Dan Zolkowski, a Chicago-based carpenter and builder who has been a lifelong hobby, advised that anyone who watches the show take it with a grain of salt.
“No one knows if the numbers presented on the show are accurate,”He said.
Viewers don’t get a real look at her profit calculator. You don’t know what she’s paying herself, what the network is paying her and how much labor and materials actually cost,He said.
“My friends see these shows and are like, ‘They flipped that home and made $300,000 … Dan, why don’t you do that?’ Well, I have done it, and I’ve never made so much. I think the numbers are a bit inflated,” he said.
This isn’t the first time the “reality”Show was more about reality than show.
“Windy City Rehab”It has used actors to pose for buyers on camera. This was also the case at a Lincoln Square house that was featured in its first season. (“Amazing,”One actor gushed as he toured the house.
The couple who bought the home was later sued, claiming that it was plagued by leaks. The buyers filed a motion in court to stop Victoria Marks, Marks, and their Bucktown personal home from being sold. The case was recently settled for an undisclosed sum.
Meanwhile, Victoria’s former rehabbing partner, Donovan Eckhardt, filed a defamation suit accusing showrunners of using creative editing to falsely paint him as an untrustworthy villain throughout the series.
The show, which has attracted up to 24.5 million viewers, will release new episodes over the next few months.