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Sheree Whitfield sues insurance company for $280,000 over Chateau Sheree damage

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Chateau Sheree in December, 2015. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Chateau Sheree in December, 2015. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Sheree Whitfield‘s five-year odyssey with her unfinished Atlanta home she dubbed Chateau Sheree isn’t over yet.

A month after a contractor sued Whitfield in December for $23,000, the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” recurring cast member filed a lawsuit January 11 against an insurance company for $279,940.56.

According to the lawsuit filed in Superior Court of Fulton County, Whitfield’s management company said an insurance company did not pay out enough money to fix a water leak that caused major damage to the home in early 2014 while it was under construction.

At the time, according to the lawsuit, the 15,000 square foot home was 85 percent complete. In early 2014, there was a major freeze in metro Atlanta that caused the water line to freeze and break. The home was unoccupied so water cascaded down and into the basement, seriously damaging at least half the home. A neighbor saw the water flowing over the balconies. The lawsuit does not say how long water was leaking before it was stopped.

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Defendant Central Mutual Insurance Company provided insurance on the home under a builders risk policy. With guidance from the insurance company, Whitfield hired Guyco Plumbing & Home Improvements to repair the home. Standard Chemical Inc. dried out the home, which took three weeks.

Whitfield hired Russ Hart, a public insurance adjuster, on Feb. 18, who raised the issue of mold, the lawsuit stated. The defendant disputed the issue of mold and the two sides argued over how much it would cost to bring the home back to its original condition. Each side hired its own appraiser and a third-party “umpire,” who was supposed to help them reach an equitable and fair agreement.

But Whitfield said the “umpire” was not impartial, favoring the insurance company’s appraisal. She believes she is owed nearly $280,000. As a result of the flooding, several contractors (HVAC, electrical and framing were cited) would no longer warranty their work, resulting in a reduction of value of the home, the lawsuit said.

Whitfield was on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” as a full-time cast member from 2008 to 2011. In 2011, she began building the home but she has had trouble financing its completion. In 2015, she was hired back by the show as a recurring cast member, which means she comes by occasionally but isn’t in every episode. She has appeared in about half of the 10 episodes aired so far this season, including a two-episode trip to Miami.

Tamara Tattles, who was sued by Whitfield over her coverage of Chateau Sheree and won, writes a rather amusing take on the situation here.

Fellow cast member Kenya Moore is working on her own home nearby and made fun of how long it’s been taking Whitfield to finish the home.

Whitfield is also an executive producer of a new WE-TV show “Selling It in the ATL,” which just concluded its first season and is awaiting a second-season pick up.

On Sunday during Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live” talk show, Whitfield said the home is nearly complete.

“I am almost done,” she said on Bravo. “It’s taking time. It’s my baby. Before I present it to everybody, it’s going to be perfect.”

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In 2013, Sheree Whitfield appeared on OWN’s “Iyanla Fix My Life,” where life coach Iyanla VanZant talked to Sheree about her life and noted that the unfinished home was a metaphor for her life. CREDIT: OWN

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