Brad Pitt’s foray into charitable homebuilding has taken a turn fit for a Hollywood drama and a real life nightmare for residents.
The actor launched a nonprofit foundation to build homes for residents of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, which was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina, more than a decade ago and now those homeowners are suing him for poor construction and design defects, according to the New York Post.
The 109 homeowners behind the suit all have 30-year mortgages, according to their lawyer, Ron Austin. The problems with their homes, constructed by Pitt’s foundation, Make It Right, include incorrect installation of gas lines and porches that have collapsed, or are rotting.
The nonprofit builder admitted in public filings it was aware of construction issues in 2009 and estimated repairs could cost around $20 million, according to a report in the New Orleans Advocate.
“It’s sad and scary,” Austin told the Post, speaking about his clients. “They don’t have anywhere to go, and they can’t afford to move.”
Pitt is petitioning the court to remove himself from the lawsuit, reportedly arguing he has not been on the foundation’s board for years “for years,” according to an inside source. The actor is separately suing Make It Right’s executive architect.
Austin said “it’s obvious” the actor is “trying to cut and run,” and added that, if Pitt was successful, it would be a disaster for his clients.
“According to their 2015 tax filings, the foundation is insolvent. If Mr. Pitt succeeds in getting himself removed from the lawsuit, these residents will be without any remedy,” he told the outlet. [NYP] — Erin Hudson