NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A settlement of $20.5 million was reached in the Civil District Court for Orleans Parish Wednesday, on behalf of the Lower Ninth Ward residents living in homes built by actor Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation. Homeowners calling this a win just before the 17-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
In the years following the major storm, actor Brad Pitt decided to help rebuild the city of New Orleans when he founded the non-profit in 2007. He promised eco-friendly houses to be sold between $150,000 and $180,000.
In 2018, all but four of the 109 homeowners claimed that the homes they purchased were falling apart due to defective design, construction, and materials. The homes began to show damage such as sloping roofs, and deteriorating, outdated wood from 2009 with some becoming uninhabitable due to the visible exposure to mold.
The Ron Austin Law Firm, which handled the class action suit, says that the settlement will enable the Make It Right Foundation to make the needed repairs to the homes so that residents can live in a safe environment. The law firm added that the foundation appears to be inactive, pointing out the fact that offices have since closed and the website is no longer active.
“The Make It Right project is an example of goodwill gone wrong,” said lead attorney Ron Austin. “These homes were neither free nor inexpensive. Lower 9th Ward residents couldn’t afford the costly repairs and were forced to vacate the properties due to health concerns. It’s my hope that this settlement will bring residents the peace and restitution they need and so rightly deserve.”
Leading global environmental non-profit, Global Green, will be paying the settlement on behalf of Pitt and other defendants as a part of the mission to create a greener future for all.