‘Make It Right NOLA’ homeowners still haven’t gotten answers from Brad Pitt

For years, Brad Pitt has been trying to avoid coverage of the catastrophe of Make It Right NOLA. After Hurricane Katrina, Brad organized MIR NOLA as a way to rebuild several New Orleans neighborhoods with affordable, eco-friendly houses. He put the project together with several architects, he fundraised for it and he couldn’t take enough credit for it for years. He got glowing press and everyone fell all over themselves to praise his genius project. Years after the first MIR homes went up, the whole thing fell apart. The houses were shoddy and leaking. There was toxic mold everywhere. Every MIR home was uninhabitable, and the working-class people who bought into the MIR scheme were saddled with 30-year mortgages on the homes which were falling apart.

So, the MIR homeowners sued in 2018. Brad Pitt was one of the people sued in a class-action lawsuit, although he tried desperately to be taken off the suit. He also argued that the lawsuit should be thrown out, that he wasn’t personally liable and neither was MIR. In 2019, the judge said the homeowners had every right to sue Pitt, especially since MIR was “barely functioning” and had been insolvent for years. The homeowners are still seeking restitution and for Brad to, you know, make it right.

In a heartbreaking new interview, an attorney for Hurricane Katrina victims who bought defective homes touted by Brad Pitt says they “They believed in [him]. They believed in the dream he sold them.” He added, “Unfortunately, what they got is a bunch of broken promises.”

In 2006, Pitt and his Make It Right Foundation set out to build affordable homes for residents of New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward who lost everything the previous year in Hurricane Katrina. But the experimental, environmentally friendly homes turned out to be defective, leaving the residents with mold-infested homes.

Attorney Ron Austin filed a lawsuit on behalf of residents in 2018 and they are still seeking answers from Pitt and his organization.

“They believed in Brad Pitt. They believed in the dream he sold them … Unfortunately, what they got is a bunch of broken promises… living in rotten houses that should be torn down to the ground and started over,” Austin told Newsnation’s Ashleigh Banfield on Thursday.

Pitt helped raise millions of dollars to construct the homes that they sold for around $150,000 each. Sources told us in 2018 that Pitt forked over millions out of his own pocket to help fix the homes, which weren’t built to withstand New Orleans tropical climate, according to the suit and broadcast.

“Some houses didn’t have things like waterproof paint or rain gutters. Some had flat roofs or were so tightly insulated that once moisture got in, it wasn’t getting out,” Banfield said. The result: termites and toxic mold that even reportedly killed one resident.

“Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to turn. Brad Pitt and the foundation have closed their offices,” Austin said. Still, Austin said they will be “fighting every day in court attempting to get them to come into court and answer some questions about what went wrong and how they are planning to make it right.”

Pitt’s lawyers have attempted to distance the actor from the charity since 2018 and even filed to have the actor’s name taken off of the lawsuit by claiming he wasn’t responsible for the construction. A source close to Pitt told Banfield his “attorneys have made it clear that he has no legal liability for the decisions made by others, but Brad remains personally committed to doing whatever he can to help resolve the ongoing litigation. It was always something that was important to him from the beginning and he very much wants to help facilitate this getting to a much more positive end.”

[From Page Six]

I can’t believe that those homeowners still haven’t gotten their day in court, and that Brad still refuses to take responsibility for this awful scheme. Was he the sole person responsible for this disaster? No, but it was absolutely HIS scheme, he put it together, he took credit for it, he fundraised for it and he made those promises to those New Orleans residents. To hide his own liability, Brad basically shuttered MIR and he’s just flatly ignoring all of the homeowners’ pleas for help and answers.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, cover courtesy of Architectural Digest.

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58 Responses to “‘Make It Right NOLA’ homeowners still haven’t gotten answers from Brad Pitt”

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  1. Sasha says:

    God. This is horrific. Can anyone imagine Angelina EVER behaving this way? It just would never happen. I don’t think Brad Pitt is the worst human being in the world but he really doesn’t have much integrity does he?

  2. Eurydice says:

    Wow, this is horrible. I remember all the glowing articles about Brad, but I don’t remember reading about the law suit. I guess I’d want to ask – what about building codes and inspectors, and why wouldn’t architects know about the local climate? But, the bit about too-tight insulation happened to my boss, who built a multi-million dollar home that got mold. They had to drill holes all over the house to let out the moisture – it looked like it was in a war zone.

    • manda says:

      right? like, how on earth did a team of professional people build a bunch of crap? Was it straight up fraud? Or stupidity? It must have been fraud because how does someone build a house, to replace a house LOST IN A CATASTROPHIC FLOOD, that cannot withstand moisture?

      It also seems pretty easy, just let the people who were scammed pick out a new house and buy it for them. I mean, that would have been easy as soon as the problems started. Too late for that now. I can’t get over what a horrible person brad pitt must be, this is just one of many horrible things

      • Lucky Charm says:

        Several years ago my parents bought a new home in Washington State (which gets a fair amount of rain and precipitation) but the developer built all the homes exactly like the ones in Arizona (which is fairly dry). A few years later they had to do repairs on almost every single house, move the furnaces, etc. because of problems and issues with moisture. If the MIR architects and builders were from out of state, then I can absolutely see how they’d build them incorrectly for the environment.

    • lucy2 says:

      From what I’ve read about this, there are a LOT of people to blame, including Brad Pitt. I hope there’s also some accounting looked into too, because they raised MILLIONS and only built a fraction of the houses planned, and the homeowners still had to pay a significant amount out of pocket for them. I think a lot of people made good money on this project, got good headlines (and he got to play architect on the cover of AD) and then disappeared as soon as the sh!t hit the fan.
      I’ve been saying, since the day he announced this, that if the goal was to help, he should have partnered with and supported an experienced, established charity. All those millions could have done wonders for something like Habitat for Humanity.

      • Ohlizbennet says:

        Absolutely follow the money. They raised millions and supposedly still had millions (upwards of 40 million if I recall correctly) up until about 2015, well after they stopped building homes per their own tax filings. Suddenly they have close to nothing despite not building or fixing anything. How does that make sense?

        I remember reading the lawsuit and while I’m not a tax or legal expert they mention something that stood out. From what I can recall, they coincidently stopped filing when they no longer had to based on requirements for charitable tax donations.

        Sounds like it was mostly a tax write off for himself and buddies too. Put millions of his own, sure, and I’m sure it benefited him to do so.

      • Zut Alors says:

        Can the government get involved into looking at what happened? The nonprofit just disappears into the ether and there’s no recourse for the homeowners?

    • Faxts says:

      The money he has spent on PR keeping this away from mainstream media and the amount of money he spends on renovating Miraval, he could have built the condemned house over with a legit construction company. $150,00 homes with inflation in 2022 would be 200 grand. I mean the lack of concern is appalling and sickening at best.

    • Let it all out says:

      The Clinton foundation even gave him an award lol

  3. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    He never will answer either.
    I remember this very well. This was during his “I’m married to Angelina Jolie and this is my pretending to be a humanitarian phase”
    Those poor folk in the lower 9th never saw it coming and never had a chance

    • MerlinsMom1018 says:

      ETA: I don’t think they were actually married at this point? Apologies!

    • Let it all out says:

      It kind of is when he’s trying to claim he’s innocent. He was MIR !people gave millions because they thought he was doing good for people.

  4. TOM says:

    It’s wrong. It’s horrible. I know nothing about it. It needs a lot more coverage.

    If this worked anything like a normal housing transaction, why buy a poor design choice like a flat roof or a super tight house? It’d be like buying a brick house in an earthquake zone. The shoddy construction is entirely on whoever threw up these shoddy houses.

  5. KBeth says:

    I remember when I thought Brad was a good guy…

  6. LeonsMomma says:

    Kaiser: Thank you for writing tbis. What has happened to the MIR houses and Pitt’s lack of responsibility is beyond horrible. He was totally all over this project, including coming to New Orleans for fundraising benefit for MIR. A lot of people bought into this BS.

    I was seething Mardi Gras 2020 when I saw photos of him in New Orleans partying, mainly with Krewe de Karnaval (Arcade Fire’s made up krewe and parade). Let’s see if he shows up again.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      What the WHAT?! he had the stones to go to NO and party for Mardi Gras while STILL not doing sh*t about those houses?!

      damn, that is really, really terrible. I wish people had hounded him relentlessly while he was there.

    • Cait says:

      Hey, neighbor! Yeah, I had the same reaction when he was pictured partying like he hadn’t directly grifted our city.

  7. Jais says:

    How did they build such terrible houses? Were they being cheap? Jeez, somebody contact Mackenzie Besos to rebuild all of it.

    • LaraW” says:

      No, contact Jeff. He’s so thirsty to hobknob with Hollywood after all.

    • Cait says:

      Lots of bad materials and volunteer labor by non-tradespersons. They picked materials and designs not meant for our environment here (stupid humid, largely warm). The roof style alone on a chunk of the houses was a major red flag.

      And it sucks, because so many New Orleanians are priced out of living here now. There’s not enough supply, and even less of that is affordable housing by per capita income. 🙁

  8. NewGirlfan says:

    Brad is being sued by everyone and their mother huh? I still feel bad for that interior designer who went bankrupt trying to sue this guy. He’s horrible and his karma will be his own kids telling the world what kind of father he was.

    • Gillysirl says:

      He sure has/had a lot of people fooled. This is not a good person.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        when you wrap something in a pretty package, people tend to ignore the dog poo contained within.

      • Nyxlove says:

        It’s crazy cus he really does have everyone fooled. Every time some thing bad about him comes out he leaks something about his “love life” like oh please I doubt any woman with sense is giving you the time of day. A man with 6 kids who all hate you being sued by everyone and looking like frank Gallagher is not a catch. Yikes!

      • Simon-Smon says:

        That’s why I suspect the Count Pierre Ben Affleck played in The Last Duel is partly based on him and Leonardo Dicaprio (he has entire authorship for that character, since he wrote and acted it), and that’s why that performance got Razzie nominated, even though critics, audiences, and Matt Damon all praised his portrayal. He got dragged by the Razzie, and as a quid pro quo, Affleck (through JLo’s connection) used PageSix to drag Pitt publicly with MIR. And yes, Affleck/Damon/Clooney are beefing with him and Dicaprio.

    • Coco says:

      Like I said in a previous post the newest lawsuit against Pitt is the Corporation it took over Angelina‘s half of Miraval. They only been in Business with him for a couple of months and they’re already suing him.

  9. Jen says:

    I know this sounds petty, but I believe you meant to write UNinhabitable. Changes the whole meaning of the story.

    • Kristen820 says:

      I questioned that too. But I wonder if their homes being uninhabitable would somehow make residents eligible for some sort of aid/public funding, so it would be costly to deem them uninhabitable and have to offset the costs of a new home?

      Genuinely don’t know. Does anyone have any insight on that possibility?

      • lucy2 says:

        My guess is they’d only likely get funding if it were covered in their homeowner’s insurance, or if it was a natural disaster and FEMA stepped in.

      • Kristen820 says:

        @Lucy2 – That would make sense. I was just wondering if the city/county/state would have to cover the cost of razing the homes were they deemed uninhabitable and condemned?

      • Kristen820 says:

        Okay, what I read in my exhaustive 3 min Google search said that if a property is condemned (not sure if “uninhabitable” is legally the same as “condemned”) it’s actually seized by the government. Which would potentially open them up to liability claims, as the structure now belongs to the government.

        (Sorry. Kinda went down the rabbit hole on this one)

  10. Wilma says:

    I just don’t understand why he hasn’t tried to actually make it right with these people. If I was rich and had a foundation and this happened to a project of mine, I would WANT to solve the problems.

  11. Luna says:

    This “money he took out of his own pocket” in 2018 to fix these houses, was a loan he asked Angelina. And he still hasn’t paid her!

  12. Courtney says:

    This guy is the most selfish, self-serving, arrogant douche. HOW do you screw over FAMILIES and then just ghost them like a teenager? It’s pathetic.

    • Faxts says:

      I have family in No. I have family that owns several people in NO including a hotel. And when I say Pitt and MIR should be blasted all over Major networks I’m not Kidding. A woman died from mold exposure. Those people are poor and you have terds on other sites commenting about they should pay for their own repair or should have gotten the houses inspected. Wtf man! Someone has to pay for this mess. Pitt was the head of MIR. They had a fundraiser in NO in 2014 raising $40 million! For what? What did they do with that money. Poor, cheap construction and incompetent architects. It’s ok these people are poor blacks. No one cares!
      Pitt is a slime all we all know this. He runs and hides and uses dirty tricks to get his way.

      • Faxts says:

        Correction: Owns several properties not people!😊 But it’s a terrible situation and didn’t a woman die from mold exposure in one of these homes. Dear God!

      • ohlizbennet says:

        And apparently most of that moneys gone despite not fixing anything and not paying people. He needed a loan from his ex wife a while ago to help with the lawsuit. He’s also reportedly spent tens of millions on renovations at his vineyard and is being sued on that front too? Hmmm. Something is really not adding up and frankly it does seem like the trump comparisons are accurate. It wouldn’t surprise me if he and his other buddies he hired misused those funds. Because between the fundraising AND selling of the homes (not like they were free) they should have a nice chunk of change. But they used cheap materials and didn’t build the number of houses promised yet they’re low on cash?

      • Cava 24 says:

        They only built 109 homes. Where did all that money go? He can afford the $22 to make the owners whole, he probably made that from the watch ad he did a few years ago.

  13. Zut Alors says:

    The fact that they wanted those poor homeowners to sign NDAs before telling them what was wrong with their houses is beyond shady and very Hollywood. Protect his image at the cost of everyone. He’s on par with Trump.

  14. Luna17 says:

    This sucks but why wasn’t the government helping get people back in homes? Why was Brad Pitt ever in a position to do this? Our country isn’t functioning in any level if we expect celebrities to be FEMA now. This is not normal behavior for a functioning country.

    • Cait says:

      Oh man, you must not remember the FEMA trailers scandal post-Katrina, or the Chinese drywall disaster in rebuilding efforts. It was BAD bad.

    • lucy2 says:

      FEMA does, but to an extent. I dealt with it a lot in my job when we got hit with Hurricane Sandy here, they basically provide funds for temporary housing, funds for repairs, and offered grants to people to raise their homes above the flood levels. It’s never enough, and as Cait mentioned, the temporary housing they provided during Katrina was horrific and people were very ill.

      The other problem with disasters like this is they draw the crooks and vultures – a lot of “new” construction companies popped up here in the months following Sandy, were given state approval, and then ripped people off like you wouldn’t believe. It sounds like there was some very poor construction work in MIR also, which means the organization didn’t properly vet the contractors.

  15. Coco says:

    I’m surprised to see so many places covering this story, normally Pitt PR team seem to burying the story before it gets picked up .

    • Chanteloup says:

      I’m so glad to see this being covered! and am commenting because I want to see this front-page news –
      Every day until the day this heartless loser is forced to ACTUALLY make it right.

      • Courtney says:

        That’s exactly what he is, heartless! He left Jennifer Aniston because Angelina showed an interest and he wanted to get with “the most beautiful woman”. Why marry Aniston just to abandon her for temptation? He only thinks of himself, and he’s in his 50s. He’s a liability who still thinks he can skate on his heartthrob reputation.

  16. Let it all out says:

    He’s hiding the fact that he’s being sued by stoli over miraval too.

  17. Charlotte says:

    So a person DIE because of Brad Pitt’s Project!! 😮

  18. AC says:

    @Courntey, what the heck do Anniston and Angelina have to do with this story? Why insert something unrelated? Also, remember, he pursued Jolie some of his fans forget that.

    • NewGirl says:

      They always want to insert Aniston in everything. People divorce everyday one day these stans will move on.

    • Courtney says:

      If you must know, because it speaks to his character. And I never said he didn’t pursue Angelina….? Mind your own comments, I can comment what I like.

      • NewGirl says:

        Like I said people divorce every day. Aniston played victim very well and it worked for her. She knew her marriage was over way before anything happened with Angelina he was just waiting for the show to end.

  19. Lili says:

    Wow! no wonder we stopped hearing about Brad’s architectural projects, we thought he was a rising star after hooking up with Frank Gehry. they should try and make things right.

  20. AC says:

    @Courtney We can all read comments and post what we chose, so
    don’t get mad at me because your analogy made zero sense! It’s not that serious! Your comment shows your anger, please.

  21. KrystinaJ says:

    Didn’t Mike Holmes do this with Brad Pitt? I didn’t see if he was part of the lawsuit.
    I haven’t had coffee yet, so apologies if this was already answered, lol

    • Coco says:

      No this was not a joint project with Mike Holmes and Pitt. I do believe Mike join the team in the begging before houses started going up and split soon after, I always wondered what happened. It was like one minute he was apart of it and the next he wasn’t.