After years of complaints that New Orleans homes built to replace those destroyed by Hurricane Katrina are leaky, rotting disasters, Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation is going after the architect who designed the homes, alleging in a new lawsuit that defects in the home’s designs are responsible for the multitude of problems.
As Associated Press reports, residents of the houses built in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward have been complaining about leaks, rot and other issues for years, which is at the crux of lawsuit filed Tuesday by the Make It Right Foundation against architect John C. Williams.
According to the lawsuit, it will cost Make It Right more than $15 million to repair the damages caused by the designs created by Williams’ firm, which received millions of dollars to produce architectural drawings for more than 100 sustainable, affordable homes.
With the new eco-friendly, sustainable homes purported to be able to withstand hurricane winds, construction began in 2008. However, problems became evident within a year of completion, with construction eventually discontinued in 2016.
The foundation’s lawsuit alleges that Williams “was responsible for several failures to adequately waterproof the structures, including insufficiently sloped roofs,” adding that Williams’ attempts at to repair the defects “were largely a failure and that he kept Make It Right management in the dark about the defects.”
Meanwhile, the lawsuit also points out that Williams admitted in an interview earlier this year that “one or two” of the homes “may be falling apart.”
Make It Right’s lawsuit comes hot on the heels of a class-action suit brought against the foundation last week, accusing Make It Right of “building substandard homes that are deteriorating at a rapid pace,” with the foundation’s lawsuit alleging the blame rests solely on the architect.
In a statement from Make It Right, the foundation promised to “continue to work proactively with homeowners in the Lower 9th Ward,” but declined any further comment.
HGTV Canada’s Mike Holmes partnered with Make It Right during the construction phase, but in an earlier statement to ET Canada rep explained that “Mike Holmes’ team built one house in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans in the summer of 2008 which was verified as a LEED Platinum Home. It was Mike’s hope that the house his team built would become an example of the type of home-building the charity and the other building partners would replicate in the Lower Ninth. We have been in touch with the homeowner since and she continues to be happy with the house. We are saddened to hear that there are ongoing issues with some of the other homes. However, since our initial involvement in 2008, we have had no association with the Make It Right charity.”