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Brad Pitt's housing foundation faces $20 million construction defect lawsuit

It started out as a charitable project with such laudable goals. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, actor Brad Pitt decided to do something about it: He launched a housing foundation to rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward.

The foundation built more than 100 homes, meant to be affordable, hurricane-resistant, energy-efficient housing options for former residents displaced by Katrina. Instead, however, residents of those homes have been plagued with ongoing construction defects, according to a class action lawsuit filed last fall.

Pitt's foundation - ironically named "Make It Right" - paid an architect more than $4 million to come up with plans and oversee the construction of the homes, according to an NBC News article. But problems started arising only a year after construction was finished. And now, more than a decade later, homeowners are alleging a laundry list of construction defects stemming from poor design and shoddy construction, including:

  • Water intrusion
  • Mold growth
  • Improper installation of gas lines
  • Electrical problems
  • Subpar roofs
  • Ventilation problems
  • Electrical problems

Additionally, many porches on the homes have rotted or collapsed - apparently due to defective lumber. The foundation previously sued the lumber supplier for more than $500,000.

In the current lawsuit against the foundation, Brad Pitt has sought to get off the hook for personal liability, alleging he hasn't been involved in the foundation's governance for years. But tax documents show that the foundation is likely insolvent. For homeowners who are stuck with long-term mortgages on homes with rapidly dwindling values, the actor himself may be their best chance at recovery.

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