The legal troubles for Windy City Rehab star Alison Victoria, and her former business partner and co-star Donovan Eckhardt, are far from done. Aside from several lawsuits which are still pending against them because of builds they did for the hit HGTV series, Eckhardt filed his own suit against the production company for the series, Big Table Media, and HGTV's parent company, for defamation and emotional distress, with damages of at least $2.2 million on the line. Even though Victoria wasn't named as a defendant in the suit, a new filing related to it is now alleging that she faked tears on camera for dramatic effect.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, a new filing attached to Donovan Eckhardt's lawsuit, which was originally filed in January, is hoping to use an interview done by HGTV President Jane Latman as evidence in the defamation case. But, this has also led to claims that Alison Victoria helped the effort to ruin Eckhardt's name and reputation by assisting in staging scenes, including supposedly drumming up false tears to make herself look better and make it seem as though all the blame for their financial troubles is on Eckhardt. The new filing alleges that this was most seen in Season 2 Episode 5, noting:
Throughout the episode, Alison continues to place blame on Donovan for most, if not all, of her issues, purporting to ‘tear up’ in several scenes shown in the episode.
According to the newly amended lawsuit, Latman's words to Variety, which were published on October 19, noted that the network was "moving away from the strict format" of their many home renovation shows, so they "covered the breakup of Alison and Donovan’s business relationship in a way we would not have a few years ago, and the ratings skyrocketed." The new filing alleges that this desire to find "soapy storylines" caused the production to orchestrate scenes which would boost ratings.
It is true that Alison Victoria tears up during the episode in question, with the second instance seeming to be the worst case. Victoria was doing a talking head interview with the production in a break from shopping for design supplies, when she became distracted by a notification on her phone. She tried to continue, saying that she had been bombarded with notices about lawsuits, client complaints, people talking to the media about her, and other issues when all she ever did was design the homes and not handle any of the construction or business matters that entailed.
Victoria also claimed that after her break from Echkhardt, which was shown earlier in the season, those notices had worsened, because he had, allegedly, stopped taking calls from anyone and seemed to have disappeared. Victoria then begins to cry and walks off camera, locking herself into a bathroom so that she can collect herself before returning.
Donovan Eckhardt's original lawsuit filing did refute Alison Victoria's claim that she knew nothing of the business practices or financial dealings of their joint venture, adding that on-camera "statements suggesting Donovan misappropriated, embezzled or wrongfully derived money from past projects are false," and made Victoria look like the "unknowing, innocent victim."
Obviously, we can't know just yet how the amended suit and the words of HGTV's president will impact Eckhardt's legal proceedings against Windy City Rehab, but there's sure to be more on this case in the coming months.
Alison Victoria will be back for nine additional episodes of Windy City Rehab Season 2 later this year.