More than a year after Hurricane Katrina decimated the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Brad Pitt co-founded an organization called Make It Right NOLA. The idea was that he would bring in cutting-edge environmentally-friendly architects and green technology to make new affordable home in New Orleans, and people could get mortgages on those homes. It took years, but MIR NOLA made dozens of homes. People got mortgages and moved into those homes. Then the problems began: toxic mold, shoddy construction, leaks, shoddy material, inhabitable conditions. The MIR homeowners got a lawyer and started a years-long effort to sue Brad Pitt and MIR. Pitt spent years pretending that he had nothing to do with any of it, even though he literally spent years taking credit and all of the glory for the scheme.
Last year, as it appeared that the MIR homeowners would likely be able to finally hold Pitt accountable, a settlement was reached. It was extremely strange at the time – Pitt partnered with Global Green and (it was said) that Global Green was putting up $20.5 million to settle with MIR homeowners. The judge signed off on it and then… things quickly fell apart. Global Green was supposed to do an auction with Pitt soon after the settlement, but it got canceled. There was no evidence that Global Green actually paid the $20.5 million. Now the Hollywood Reporter reports that it was all one big scam, pulled by Global Green chasing for celebrity clout and Brad Pitt trying to escape responsibility for his f–kups. Global Green never had the money.
For the impacted homeowners of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, the August 2022 announcement that they were one step closer to being made whole — with relief coming in the form of a $20.5 million settlement — was long past due. In the summer of 2022, Global Green USA — another charity with Hollywood connections and a track record of helping rebuild in the region — had announced it would step up to pay and administer the $20.5 million, imminently disbursing the funds. “Hopefully this agreement will allow everyone to look ahead to other opportunities to continue to strengthen this proud community in the future,” Pitt told TMZ, as media outlets spread the welcome news.
But The Hollywood Reporter has learned that the deal has since imploded amid recrimination. History has repeated in the Lower Ninth Ward — and yet another well-intentioned and highly publicized plan for these residents has resulted in failure.
According to previously unreported case files, soon after the pact was announced, Global Green attempted to renege, revealing that despite signing on to the court-approved agreement that stipulated all funding would be provided within 10 days, it never had the money to cover its commitment. Furthermore, the nonprofit, which wasn’t required to show the court it was financially sound, asserted it could not effectively fundraise because Pitt’s ex-wife Angelina Jolie had, in unrelated court proceedings, then recently accused the actor of abusing her and their children.
“I’ve never seen a situation like this, where there was a settlement that fell through because it was an insolvent party that proposed it,” marvels Louisiana State University law professor William R. Corbett, an expert in civil procedure.
Pitt’s team rejects any notion that the actor or his reputation are at all to blame for what’s transpired, contending that Global Green is solely responsible for making a promise it didn’t keep. “Brad had supported Global Green many years ago, so when they approached his team stating ‘$20.5M in funding’ had been secured by their ‘generous donors,’ there was interest in considering their proposal,” a Pitt spokesperson at Hiltzik Strategies responded to THR in a written statement. “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.”
The representative added, “It was incredibly surprising for the plaintiffs, the defendants and their counsel to learn that the funds Global Green claimed multiple times were secured had not in fact been committed or raised. It was equally disappointing to discover payment was not made, though the settlement agreement was specifically negotiated to ensure that litigation would continue without prejudice to any parties if the settlement were to fail.”
For his part, Global Green CEO Bill Bridge, who agreed to reply to THR‘s inquiries by email, portrayed his nonprofit as a pure-of-heart entity having been brought into “the snake pit” by a high-stakes, even higher-pressure settlement process that’s left it with mounting legal fees, under a contempt order and scrambling to obtain a court-ordered surety bond to cover the $20.5 million. (A surety is a guarantee of one party’s debt by another.) “Global Green was willing to make every effort to raise the funds, but when it wasn’t fast enough or to the level those parties required, Global Green became the scapegoat for what essentially has been the failure of the parties to resolve the matter,” he explained.
This is just a portion of what THR uncovered – you should absolutely read the full piece if you’re interested in a lot of back-and-forth documentation from lawyers. It sounds like two things were happening at once: Pitt and his team manipulated Global Green into signing all of the documentation to “cover” the $20.5 million settlement cost AND it sounds like Global Green is extremely shady and they consistently overpromise and clout-chase. What I still don’t get – what I’ve never understood – is that Pitt HAS the money. He spends tens of millions on weird f–king design projects in France, he’s sold off his estate in LA, he has sponsorships and side-deals. He has the money, and he needs to pay the people he screwed over in New Orleans. This is obscene.
Oh, and Global Green is leaning in HEAVILY to the narrative that Pitt got them on the hook for the $20.5 million before the FBI report came out last summer – you know, the FBI report on Brad Pitt’s abusive rampage on a private plane in 2016, which left his wife battered and bruised and his children traumatized.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red. Cover courtesy of Architectural Digest.