Flip This House

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Not to be confused with Flip That House.
Flip This House
FlipthisHouse 20 2D 20low 20res.jpg
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 5
Production
Running time 42 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel A&E
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
720p (HDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original run July 24, 2005 (2005-07-24) – August 15, 2009
External links
Website

Flip This House is an American television series that airs on the A&E (Arts and Entertainment) television network as well as the Bio network. Each episode spotlights the purchase and renovation of a single unit. All episodes included listing the price of the purchase, the cost of renovation, and the market value (including potential profit) of the "flipped" property.

Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Season Premiere Season Finale
1 13 July 24, 2005 March 3, 2006
2 11 July 23, 2006 November 12, 2006
3 19 March 31, 2007 October 6, 2007
4 23 March 15, 2008 November 15, 2008
5 12 July 11, 2009 August 15, 2009

Season one[edit]

In season one, the series followed the activities surrounding the Charleston-based Trademark Properties, founded by Richard C. Davis.

Charleston Team

Due to a contractual disagreement Trademark decided not to return for season two of the show. Davis created the show in 2003, took it to A&E to partner, and claims that he has yet to receive any payment. In July 2006, Trademark Properties filed a lawsuit against A&E alleging breach of contract and fraud.[1] Davis was awarded $4 million by the jury in the case, an amount equal to more than half of the profit generated by the first season of the show. The A&E network responded through its spokesman, Michael Feeney, by saying, "We are deeply disappointed in the jury's decision, and we will follow the appropriate steps to have the verdict reversed."[2]

Davis signed a series deal with TLC, and the new series, originally titled The Real Deal and now named The Real Estate Pros, began airing April 21, 2007.[3]

Season two[edit]

In season two, the show was recast with a team from San Antonio, and another from Atlanta.

San Antonio Team
  • Armando Montelongo – Montelongo House Buyers co-founder, David's brother
  • Veronica Montelongo – Armando's wife, the company's sales executive
  • David Montelongo – Co-Founder
  • Melina Montelongo – David's wife, who is the company Marketing Director
Atlanta Team
  • Sam Leccima – Founder of Leccima Real Estate,[4] accused of fraud in May 2007.[5]
  • Shanni Leccima – Sam's wife and partner
  • Lamont Martin – Sam's right-hand man and construction manager
  • Angela Wilford – Works for Keller-Williams Realty and collaborates with the Leccimas to sell the flipped houses.

In May 2007, television station WAGA in Atlanta exposed the Season Two episodes starring local developer Sam Leccima to be staged and fraudulent.[5] This same report also revealed that Leccima has been the subject of numerous legal actions stemming from fraudulent real estate solicitations, some of which were related to his activity on the show. A&E has denied any knowledge of Leccima's activities and has stopped producing episodes. These episodes are no longer aired.

Season three[edit]

In season three, a new team from New Haven was introduced. Additionally, the team from Atlanta recast with a new group of people. Only the Montelongo team from San Antonio continued their roles from the prior season.

New Haven Team
  • Than Merrill
  • Paul Esajian
  • JD Esajian
  • Jeremy Black
  • Lori Parks
Atlanta Team

Note: the Atlanta cast has changed since last season.

San Antonio Team
  • Armando Montelongo – Founder of Armando Montelongo Companies
  • Veronica Montelongo – Armando's wife, who sells houses and is also V.P. of Armando Montelongo Comp.
  • Randy – Contractor who works on the houses
  • Christopher Mendoza – Armando Montelongo Companies intern
  • David Montelongo – Co-Founder of Armando Montelongo Companies
  • Melina Montelongo – David's wife, who is the company Marketing Director

Season four[edit]

In season four, a new team from Los Angeles was introduced. Additionally, the team from Atlanta was recast again keeping only Brian and Peter from Season 3.

New Haven Team
  • Than Merrill
  • Paul Esajian
  • JD Esajian
  • Jeremy Black
  • Lori Parks
Atlanta Team

Note: the Atlanta cast has changed since last season.

San Antonio Team
  • Armando Montelongo – Founder & CEO of Armando Montelongo Companies
  • Veronica Montelongo – Armando's wife, who sells houses and is also V.P. of Armando Montelongo Companies
  • Randy Burch – Contractor who works on the houses
  • Brent Holt – Project Manager
Los Angeles Team
  • Rudy Martinez
  • Carlos Vazquez
  • Mary O'Grady

Season five[edit]

New Haven Team
  • Than Merrill
  • Paul Esajian
  • JD Esajian
  • Jeremy Black
  • Lori Parks
Atlanta Team
San Antonio Team
  • Randy Burch – Contractor who works on the houses
  • Brent Holt
Los Angeles Team
  • Rudy Martinez
  • Carlos Vazquez
  • Mary O'Grady

Controversy[edit]

Season one[edit]

In 2007, Flip This House was the subject of a breach of contract and fraud lawsuit brought by Trademark Properties, a South Carolina real estate company that starred in the show's first season.[1]

In the several million dollar civil lawsuit, Flip This House '​s original executive producer and star, Trademark and Mr. Davis, charged A&E and the show's Departure Films production company with breach of contract, fraud, and seven other charges. In the lawsuit Mr. Davis claimed to have not received any financial compensation from A&E or Departure for Flip This House '​s first season and alleged that they had actually created the show themselves, but they called it Worst To First instead of the Flip This House show. He claimed that he pitched the show to A&E, which later agreed to produce and televise 13 episodes of the series. Mr. Davis alleged that A&E agreed that although A&E would pay all the show's production costs, the parties would be 50/50 partners in any profits generated from the project and agreed to prepare a written agreement stating such. Instead, according to Mr. Davis, A&E aired the program, using his likeness without his permission, and changing the name of the show from Worst to First to Flip This House so as not to arouse suspicion that they were going to use the show concept and had no intention or ever paying Mr. Davis for the use of his show title and show concept.

According to Mr. Davis, the network allegedly never provided an agreement that reflected the terms of their alleged verbal agreement throughout the entire period of Flip This House's first-season production.[1] According to Mr. Davis, "A&E defrauded and misappropriated and stole the project for A&E's own use and benefit, and merely changed the name so as not to have to pay for the show concept." Allegedly it wasn't until around March 2006 that Mr. Davis learned that A&E had decided to produce and air another season of Flip this House without using his services (which he would not have agreed to anyway, since he was never paid for the first season).

A&E claimed that they provided Mr. Davis with "powerful" free advertising for his company, "Trademark". A&E also alleged that it only moved forward with a second season after Davis announced that he was launching a new reality show with the TLC cable television network.

The case was resolved by a jury and Davis was awarded $4 million, an amount equal to half of the profits from the first season of Flip This House. A&E has promised to appeal the decision.[2] The Real Estate Pros, starring Mr. Davis and the rest of his staff at Trademark Properties was debuted as The Real Deal premiered on TLC cable television network on April 21, 2007.[3] From June 2008, The Real Estate Pros was on hiatus and was not airing. As of January 2009, new episodes of Real Estate Pros are in production, but have never been aired as of November 2009.

Season two[edit]

Sam Leccima is an Atlanta businessman who served as one of the show's second season stars.[6] His "Leccima Real Estate Company" was one of two real estate firms that the show's second season followed.

According to a two-part television news report broadcast by Atlanta's Fox affiliate WAGA-TV in May 2007, Mr. Leccima didn't own the houses he claimed to have sold on Flip This House and also staged some of the renovations depicted on the show (ceiling panels were later seen falling, which was blamed on the inferior work of a sub-contractor in the TV series).[6]

WAGA also reported that Mr. Leccima didn't possess a real estate license when Flip This House was filming prior to the series's second season premiere, claiming that Mr. Leccima "does not bear a good reputation for honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, and competence."[6]

According to WAGA, he even staged at least one fake open house in which some of his friends posed as buyers for the home. In addition, he even claimed to sell another home that he didn't own.

A&E announced that it was pulling Leccima's Flip This House episodes off its broadcast schedule and denied any knowledge or part in the frauds shown on their airways.[6]

From A&E's Claim to Not Know Anything About All of the Fraud on the A&E web site on July 1, 2007: "We are dismayed to learn of these allegations. A&E Television Networks is not a party to any of the transactions shown in Flip This House and has not received any formal complaints about the properties or sales. Based on these allegations, A&E is taking all episodes featuring Mr. Leccima off the air pending further investigation of the claims. After the second season of Flip This House, A&E decided to change direction and focus on different cast members, as we did after the first season when another controversial situation happened, and we no longer work with Mr. Leccima or Trademark Properties."

Mr. Leccima has suggested that A&E and Flip This House '​s production company knew what was going on. "Ask anybody who works in television how a reality show is made and you'll find that ours was a very typical approach", Leccima told The AP.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Wallenstein, Andrew (July 25, 2006). "A&E Sued Over Flip This House". The Hollywood Reporter Esq. Archived from the original on 2007-07-03. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  2. ^ a b James, Meg (2008-11-13). "Investor awarded millions in Flip lawsuit". The Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ a b Lyon, Mark (2007-03-31). "Trademark Properties v. A&E Television Networks". Flip This Lawsuit. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  4. ^ "Leccima". Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  5. ^ a b "Flip This House Star Accused of Faking Work on Popular Cable Television Show". Associated Press. 2007-06-01. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Associated Press (2007-07-01). "A&E Bamboozled Again By Con Man Sam Leccima... The Hits Just Keep On Coming!!!!!!". MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 

External links[edit]