Keith Ori from Zombie House Flipping was dragged into a lawsuit when Shanti Cooper was allegedly murdered in one of the houses slated to appear on the show.
Zombie House Flipping follows the entire process of how teams of renovators flip disgusting homes and for top dollar.
One of these renovators, Keith Ori, got dragged into a lawsuit when he was contacted by Dave Tronnes, who ended up being arrested for the murder of his wife in the home that was set to feature on the show.
What is Zombie House Flipping about?
The teams of real-estate experts on Zombie House Flipping use their unique renovation, design and construction skills to transform homes that are in such bad condition that no other flippers would dare to go near them.
The show covers the entire flipping process for these homes, and this means showing all of the hidden costs, unexpected mishaps and last-minute changes that arise along the way.
Once these “zombie houses” have been flipped, they can easily pass as modern, upgraded homes which are sold for top dollar in the local real-estate market.
Zombie House Flipping lawsuit
Zombie House Flipping has been on the air since 2016 and the show has since faced some controversy.
However, none of the comments about the show’s legitimacy were as serious as when one of its stars, Keith Ori, became involved in a lawsuit involving one of the “zombie” houses that was slated to be featured on the show.
In 2018, Ori (the contractor for the original Orlando team on Zombie House Flipping who has been rehabbing homes for over two decades) was approached by Dave Tronnes who lived in his neighborhood.
Tronnes was looking for help renovating a large property which he had recently purchased and wanted to renovate.
Keith was reportedly shocked the first time that he entered Tronnes’s new home.
Tronnes had seen this home in Delaney Park as a pet project for him and his new wife, Shanti Cooper, who he had met on the online dating site Match.com. But in a surprising move, they had completely disassembled the home.
Ori went as far as to say that they went further than taking the house to its studs and they actually started removing the studs, which made him think that this house would be a perfect candidate for the next season of Zombie House Flipping, which would have started filming in May 2018.
However, these plans were cut short when Tronnes called 911 just a few days later, reporting that Shanti was laying in the bathtub in the house, and she was not breathing.
Police started an investigation after she was declared dead and Tronnes was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in August 2018.
How did the house look?
Originally, Tronnes bought this upscale home in Delaney Park for about $600,000 in cash and had put the house in a trust with his mother.
Before Tronnes had started with his extensive renovation work, the home stretched over 4,000 square feet and featured an older, Victorian style of architecture.
The house also had a pool, a few gargoyles and a garage apartment, which Tronnes and Cooper had moved into when the renovations made the main house uninhabitable.
What did Keith Ori think of Dave Tronnes and Shanti Cooper’s relationship?
Ori has been fairly reserved in sharing details about what happened at the Tronnes home.
However, he did admit that he was close to scrapping the idea of having the home featured on Zombie House Flipping because he was struggling to get Tronnes and Cooper to meet up with him so that they could discuss filming and other ideas.
It is very likely that the conflict that Keith was sensing between the couple was as a result of Tronnes's refusal to add Cooper’s name to the deed of the house.
This is despite the fact that she had bankrolled most of the renovations, as this had been an ongoing squabble between the two for months.
Has Dave Tronnes’s trial happened yet?
Although Tronnes was arrested and taken to the Orange County Jail in Orlando following his arrest back in 2018, the trial has been delayed several times.
More recently, Tronnes’s lawyers insisted that he was not competent to stand trial, because he was suffering “ongoing manifestations of the diagnosis of Schizophrenia.”
However, it seems like Tronnes’s trial will take place regardless of his lawyers’ claims, as he was found competent to stand trial earlier this year.
So far, the court has instructed Tronnes’s lawyers to prepare a trial order by February 3, with the trial set for June 5, 2023. Tronnes still maintains his innocence to this day.