Updated February 27, 2019 - 11:52 pm
A Henderson couple has settled a lawsuit against the HGTV television network and the husband-wife team behind the popular show “Flip or Flop Vegas” over the sale of a home that they alleged was renovated without pulling required city permits.
The lawsuit, which was settled this month for a confidential sum, alleged that the stars of the show, Bristol and Aubrey Marunde, fraudulently sold the Henderson home after renovating it and misrepresented it as being up to code.
It also alleged that, despite the show’s claims, Bristol Marunde “was not and has never been a contractor licensed in the state of Nevada or any other state at the time of the taping or airing of the television episode.”
The Marundes have said they have purchased and remodeled more than 150 homes in the Las Vegas Valley.
“I’m hoping that the Nevada attorney general contacts us because I feel like it’s a big case of fraud,” one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Billi Dunning, told the Review-Journal before the settlement.
“I hope that they stop doing it, and they get permit, and do it the right way.”
The Marundes could not be reached for comment. Their Las Vegas attorney, Crislove Igeleke, declined to comment on the case, saying that “there is a confidentiality agreement in place.”
As part of the settlement, all parties agreed to pay their own court and attorney fees, and Dunning and her husband, Brent Hawthorne, were required to provide a quitclaim deed returning the home to the Marundes after receiving the settlement payment.
Hawthorne and Dunning alleged in the lawsuit that they were “induced into purchasing the property (through) … defendants’ false representations.”
It said they made the purchase after seeing the home online and later learned that the house on 2405 La Estrella St. would be featured on a “Flip or Flop Las Vegas” episode titled “Beach Cottage in the Desert” in June 2017.
The lawsuit included 10 claims for relief for fraud, intentional misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation and listed Scripps Networks Interactive, which owns HGTV, Realtor Crystal Elijah-Ramos at Urban Nest Realty and the inspector, Frederick Roach, for Platinum Avenue Properties LLC, as defendants.
In separate court filings, the Marundes and Scripps either denied allegations of negligent misrepresentation or stated that they were “without sufficient information to admit or deny the allegations.”
Elijah-Ramos and Roach denied liability regarding the repair work in motions to dismiss.
Dunning and Hawthorne made an offer on the Henderson home in May 2017, while they were still living in Seattle and looking to retire.
After completing the purchase, Hawthorne arrived at the home on July 4, 2017, and discovered that only 10 of the 39 items flagged by the couple’s home inspector had been addressed, according to the lawsuit.
‘I wanted to drive back home’
It said the pool was green. The fireplace was a hazard. The electrical work was problematic. A shoddy plumbing job left the house smelling of sewage. One shower in the three-bedroom, two-bathroom property ran without hot water.
“When I saw the house, I wanted to drive back home to Seattle,” Hawthorne said.
After investigating, Hawthorne and Dunning found it would have cost more than $150,000 to bring the house up to code, according to the lawsuit.
Dunning and Hawthorne bought the house for $282,000. In the episode, the Marundes claimed to have made just over $60,000 on the sale. Zillow records show the home sold again on Feb. 5 for $325,000.
Since then, the couple has bought a new house near Green Valley Ranch Resort.
“It feels like home, at least now,” Hawthorne said. “It breaks my heart that there could be others out there like us. We were lucky enough to survive this.”