Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation Settles Lawsuit with Post-Katrina Homeowners for $20.5 Million

·3 min read
brad pitt
brad pitt

Gregg DeGuire/Getty Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation has settled with plaintiffs who previously filed a lawsuit over the state of their homes built through the charity in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

In a release obtained by PEOPLE on Thursday, the $20.5 million settlement was described as serving "to resolve outstanding issues in the litigation over homes in the Make It Right development in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans."

"As part of its overall mission of environmental justice and sustainable living, Global Green will fund a program to rectify defects in the original as built conditions of homes," the release adds. "Under this agreement, Global Green will provide $20.5 million to fund the program and resolve the litigation."

In a statement, Pitt, 58, said he is "incredibly grateful for Global Green's willingness to step up and provide this important support for the Lower Ninth families."

"We collaborated in the early days post-Katrina and we are very fortunate to have Global Green's generous continuing commitment to help address the challenges around these homes and others in need," the actor continued. "Hopefully this agreement will allow everyone to look ahead to other opportunities to continue to strengthen this proud community in the future."

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brad pitt
brad pitt

Matthew HINTON/AFP via Getty Brad Pitt

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The Make It Right Foundation, which built homes for New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their neighborhoods in 2005, was hit with the lawsuit by people who claimed the homes built for them "were deficiently constructed and built," according to a complaint obtained by PEOPLE in September 2018.

In a statement provided to PEOPLE at the time, Make It Right stated that it had "filed a lawsuit against its former executive architect, John Williams, and his firm for monetary damages to remediate and repair affected homes in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, arising from his engagement with the Foundation."

They added, "Make It Right continues to work proactively with homeowners in the Lower 9th Ward, and we will make no further comment on the case at this time." (A judge later denied Pitt's November 2018 request to be dismissed from the lawsuit, in which the Oscar winner claimed he had no personal involvement.)

A source familiar with the situation told PEOPLE at the time of the filing that "Brad has confidence in the Make It Right team; he made a promise to the people of the Lower Ninth and he intends to keep fulfilling it, and to keep contributing money as he has been all this time."

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Global Green CEO William Bridge said in the settlement release on Thursday that the company "has had an ongoing positive working relationship with Mr. Pitt since [2006] and has always been impressed with his commitment to the people of New Orleans."

"We were incredibly pleased when he came to us asking for assistance in resolving this matter and as part of our overall mission, look forward to helping restore the homes of the Lower 9th Ward," Bridge added.

Global Green Co-Chairman of the Board Vered Elkouby Nisim added in the release, "This commitment to New Orleans is a result of our partnerships and the incredible support we have amassed through our long-standing legacy work."

"Our board has rallied its network for this initiative, and we look forward to expanding our commitment to creating affordable, sustainable housing for a community that deeply deserves it," Nisim said.