New Orleans residents sue Brad Pitt’s nonprofit for building them ‘substandard’ homes after Katrina
NEW ORLEANS — Two Louisiana residents have filed a lawsuit against actor Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation, claiming his nonprofit built houses after Hurricane Katrina that are “substandard,” rotting and falling apart, according to a Fox News report.
The plaintiffs, Lloyd Francis and Jennifer Decuir, reside in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood. Their attorney says they were “forced” to file the lawsuit because they are stuck with houses that are “deteriorating at a rapid pace.”
“While the citizens of the Ninth Ward are grateful to Brad Pitt, they were forced to file this lawsuit because the Make it Right Foundation built substandard homes that are deteriorating at a rapid pace while the homeowners are stuck with mortgages on properties that have diminished values,” attorney Ron Austin told NOLA.com.
With the help of two award-winning architects, Pitt founded Make it Right in 2007, two years after Katrina devastated the city.
Construction on 109 homes began in 2008. The houses gave residents the chance to return to the neighborhood they called home prior to the storm’s arrival.
The avant-garde dwellings were lauded as storm-safe, solar-powered, highly insulated and “green,” Fox News reports.
The nonprofit, however, never met its goal of constructing 150 houses. The structures were also riddled with issues because they were “deficiently constructed and built” with “defective products,” the lawsuit said.
Residents have been dealing with mold, rotting wood, poor air quality, as well as plumbing, heating and electrical issues, according to the residents.
“Where is Mr. Pitt?” neighbor Doris Wyman told NOLA.com. “I wonder, if he saw that house, what would be the first words out of his mouth?”
Residents said in the lawsuit that problems began as early as 2013, but they believed the foundation would “make it right” and come around for repairs. The nonprofit then handed homeowners a “packet” that included nondisclosure agreements that weren’t properly explained. The owners signed “on agreements that would deprive homeowners of important legal rights while the homeowners are under duress,” the lawsuit claimed.
Pitt and the foundation have not publicly addressed the lawsuit.