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Back in 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans hard, and Brad Pitt was just one of the A-list names who stepped in to help rebuild the area. But 17 years later, the Oscar winner’s Make It Right Foundation has been caught up in a legal case for failing to deliver what was promised — “environmentally sensitive, design-conscious houses” for the people who were victims of the natural disaster in the Lower Ninth Ward of the city.
The houses built by Pitt’s foundation were reportedly poorly built and forced residents “to live in substandard conditions,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The original 2018 class-action lawsuit that sought damaged from Pitt and the Make It Right Foundation was stuck in court while people were living in squalor. Things were looking bleak until last summer when Global Green USA, another entertainment industry-related charity, stepped in to settle the case and pay $20.5 million to help the New Orleans residents.
Instead of offering the homeowners relief from their dilapidated homes, Global Green never paid the money they promised because they didn’t have the funds to begin with. Pitt is taking no responsibility for the financial issues and is putting the blame squarely on Global Green, according to his Hiltzik Strategies spokesperson. “Global Green represented themselves as having already obtained these funds and planned to use them toward resolving all claims in the ongoing lawsuit for the benefit of the homeowners,” they said in a written statement to The Hollywood Reporter. Pitt’s reps claim it was “incredibly surprising” for them to find out “that the funds Global Green claimed multiple times were secured had not in fact been committed or raised.” They also found it “equally disappointing” that the “payment was not made,” but they did not offer any solutions or relief to the Hurricane Katrina victims.
The Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood star’s response probably still stings because he was the celebrity face of rebuilding the area in 2005, and he took the credit in countless interviews. “I just saw what needed to be done,” he explained to Architectural Digest in 2009. “And I said, ‘Why not?’” The residents now find themselves back at square one with their class-action lawsuit because the judge has allowed the case against Pitt and Make It Right Foundation to move ahead again. Global Green also has a contempt hearing with the judge on Oct. 2. That doesn’t offer much comfort to residents like Albert Matthews who told the outlet, “This has been one long nightmare” — and there is no end in sight.
Before you go, click here to see the most important celebrity lawsuits over the past 15 years.
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