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.”
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.