Rick Caruso

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Rick Caruso
Rick Joseph Caruso

(1959-01-07) January 7, 1959 (age 60)
ResidenceBrentwood, California, US
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
Pepperdine University School of Law
Net worthUS$4.0 billion (March 2019)[1]
Spouse(s)Tina Caruso
Children4, including Justin Caruso
Parent(s)Henry Caruso
Gloria Caruso

Rick Joseph Caruso (born January 7, 1959)[2] is an American billionaire businessman and philanthropist.[3] He is the founder and chief executive officer of Caruso, an American real-estate company.[4][5] He has been president of the Los Angeles Police Commission and a member of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the University of Southern California.

Early life and education[edit]

Caruso was born in Los Angeles. His father, Henry Caruso, was the founder of Dollar Rent-A-Car and owner of many car dealerships in the Los Angeles area. Henry was indicted for fraud, forgery, and conspiracy in 1957 and pled guilty.[6] He was allowed to change his plea back to not guilty after probation, and charges were dismissed.[6] His mother Gloria, a billboard model in her youth, was a homemaker and philanthropist.[7] Rick received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Southern California in 1980, where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and a law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 1983 as a Margaret Martin Block Scholar.[8][9][10] In 1995, he was recognized as the Alumnus of the Year by Pepperdine School of Law.[11]

Business career[edit]

Caruso was a real-estate lawyer in the corporate finance department at Finley Kumble,[12] but in 1990, he quit law to develop retail and residential properties full-time.[13][14]

In 1987, he founded Caruso, a company that develops, owns and manages properties such as The Grove at Farmers Market in Los Angeles, the Americana at Brand in Glendale, the Commons at Calabasas, the Promenade at Westlake, 8500 Burton Way and the Waterside Marina Del Rey.[4][12][15]

He has lectured on real estate issues at the Kennedy School of Public Administration at Harvard University,[16] the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy[17] and the Milken Institute Global Conference.[18] Caruso participates annually as a guest panelist for the International Council of Shopping Centers.[19]

Public service[edit]

In 1985, at the age of 26, Caruso was named by Mayor Tom Bradley to serve as a commissioner for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power,[20] becoming the youngest commissioner in the history of the city.[21][22]

In August 2001, Caruso was appointed by Mayor James K. Hahn to the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners[23] and was elected its president.[21] In this role, he led the selection process that resulted in the hiring of former New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton as the Los Angeles Chief of Police. During Caruso's tenure as president of the Police Commission, the crime rate in Los Angeles dropped 37.3% from 2002 to 2006.[23]

In 2008, Caruso was elected to serve as a member of the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission,[22][24] which oversees the operations of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and nearby Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. During his tenure on the commission, Caruso advocated for its reform, including the resignation of its general manager,[25][26] and the replacement of the commission itself with a new governing body.[27] He advocated a ban on rave parties at the two venues.[28][29]

He is on the Pepperdine School of Law Board of Advisors[30] and on the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.[31]

Philanthropy and awards[edit]

Caruso founded the Caruso Family Foundation, a foundation that is dedicated to supporting organizations that improve the lives of children in need of healthcare and education.[32][33]

In 2013, the Foundation pledged $5 million to Operation Progress, a Watts-based non-profit founded by Los Angeles Police Department officers, which will guide more than 200 students from elementary school through college graduation. The pledge creates a new "ecosystem of opportunity" led by Operation Progress in collaboration with three area Catholic schools, South Central Scholars, Helping Young People Excel, and STRIVE.[34]

Caruso serves on the board of Para Los Niños, a nonprofit family and child welfare agency in South Los Angeles.[35] The organization dedicated its Skid Row facility as the Tina and Rick Caruso Child Development Center.[36]

The Caruso Catholic Center and Our Savior Parish Church on the USC campus was endowed by and named after Caruso following his contribution of $9 million.[37][38]

His daughter, Gianna "Gigi", was born with hearing loss and was treated at USC's Keck School of Medicine. In 2015, Caruso and his wife Tina donated a further $25 million to USC, to endow and name the USC Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.[39][40] He sits on the board of the National Institute of Transplantation[41] and is on the Board of St. John's Health Center[42] and The California Medical Center Foundation.[18]

In 1995, Caruso was named Alumnus of the Year by Pepperdine School of Law.[13]

Caruso was named by the Los Angeles Business Journal as "Developer of the Year" and its 2012 Ernst & Young LLP Master Entrepreneur of the Year.[11][33][32]

Political influence[edit]

In 2015, Caruso funded a voter initiative to bypass local planning laws and the California Environmental Quality Act in order to build an outdoor mall in Carlsbad, CA.[43] That initiative passed but a subsequent referendum overturned it and required a public vote - Measure A. The measure failed and the mall construction was blocked.[44] All together, Caruso spent $12 million in less than a year on getting the project approved.[44] Including television ads, mailers, and consulting services.[44]

In 2016, the L.A. Times reported that Caruso, his affiliates and family, had given more than $476,000 to L.A. city officials over the past five years; during which time Los Angeles City Hall approved numerous building projects.[45]

USC Board of Trustees[edit]

He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the University of Southern California.[46][47] During his tenure as chairman of the Board of Trustees, Marshall School of Business Dean James G. Ellis was removed and a settlement was reached in the sexual abuse scandal involving campus gynecologist George Tyndall.[15] Olivia Jade Giannulli, one of the USC students involved in the federal indictments regarding USC admissions, was aboard Caruso's $100 million yacht, Invictus,[48] in the Bahamas at the time the scandal broke. Giannulli is daughter of actress Lori Loughlin and a friend of Caruso's daughter, Gianna.[40][49][50][51] Gianna Caruso, like her other siblings, was accepted to USC during a period in which her father donated millions of dollars to the university.[52]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Tina Caruso; the couple have four children, Alex, Gregory, Justin, and Gianna.[2] They live in Brentwood, California.[1] All four of his children have attended the University of Southern California.[52] Caruso has donated millions of dollars to the school.[52] Caruso, through a trust, paid for a $4.4 million mansion in Pacific Palisades for his son Justin.[53]


  1. ^ a b "Forbes profile: Rick Caruso". forbes. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Uribarri, Adrian G. (January 11, 2007). "Developer gets recognition for aid to children". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  3. ^ Clendenin, Jay L. (September 20, 2015). "Billionaire developer Rick Caruso, who owns -- among other things -- the Encino Marketplace, the Americana at Brand in Glendale, the Grove and Burton Place Retail Center in Los Angeles, may be one of the candidates in L.A.'s next mayoral election". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Rick J. Caruso, founder and CEO, Caruso Affiliated". Smart Business. July 1, 2012.
  5. ^ Martin Moodie. "Shilla/ARI bid for LAX duty free gets Rick Caruso endorsement". The Moodie Report. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Hudson, Subrina (April 21, 2017). "Doing it his way: Developer Rick Caruso looks to rehabilitate his image". The Real Deal. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  7. ^ "PressReader.com - Your favorite newspapers and magazines". www.pressreader.com. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  8. ^ "Rick J. Caruso". USC Price. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
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  10. ^ "Admissions". Pepperdine University. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
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  12. ^ a b Meinert, Maya. "Early Developer". LA Business Journal. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  13. ^ a b Moore, Annette (March 8, 2007). "Inside the world's biggest airline merger". USC News. University of Southern California.
  14. ^ Morris Newman (November 10, 1998). "Commercial Real Estate: Developer Turns Shopping Malls Into Center of Attention". Los Angeles Times.
  15. ^ a b Vincent, Roger (March 3, 2019). "Grove builder Rick Caruso reimagines Miramar resort with splashes of seaside splendor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  16. ^ "Caruso! Not the singing one. The talking one. Rick Caruso talks more LA". LA Times. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  17. ^ "USC 125th Commencement: Speakers at Satellite Ceremonies". University of Southern California. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  18. ^ a b "Global Conference 2013 - Rick Caruso". Milken Institute. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  19. ^ "Saint John's Health Center". Newstjohns.org. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  20. ^ "The Linq: Retail Advisors" (PDF). Caesars Palace. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  21. ^ a b "Attorney Rick Caruso Unanimously Elected to Head Police Commission". Metnews.com. August 22, 2001. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  22. ^ a b Fleischer, Matthew (December 31, 2008). "The Caruso Factor". Los Angeles Business Journal.
  23. ^ a b "Hahn Picks Bratton to Lead Police Force". Los Angeles Times. October 3, 2002. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  24. ^ "Coliseum Commission". Lacoliseumlive.com. September 25, 1945. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  25. ^ Romero, Dennis (February 9, 2011). "Raves: Rick Caruso Calls for Resignation of Coliseum G.M. Patrick Lynch". LA Weekly.
  26. ^ "Caruso Calls for Resignation of Coliseum Executive Director". Business Wire. February 9, 2011.
  27. ^ Paul Pringle and Andrew Blankstein (September 29, 2011). "Developer Rick Caruso resigns from Coliseum Commission". Los Angeles Times.
  28. ^ Romero, Dennis (February 10, 2011). "Raves: Coliseum Commissioner Rick Caruso Says Rave Ban Back on the Table, Electric Daisy Carnival Still up in the Air". LA Weekly.
  29. ^ Romero, Dennis (January 5, 2011). "L.A. Coliseum Commissioner Rick Caruso Likely To Ask For Ban On Raves". LA Weekly.
  30. ^ "Board of Advisors | School of Law | Pepperdine University". Law.pepperdine.edu. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  31. ^ "Board of Trustees of The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation". Reagan Foundation. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  32. ^ a b "Rick Caruso to Receive the 2012 Ernst & Young LLP Master Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award for Greater Los Angeles". Reuters. May 11, 2012.
  33. ^ a b Crowe, Deborah (May 11, 2012). "Caruso Named Ernst & Young LLP Master Entrepreneur of the Year". Los Angeles Business Journal.
  34. ^ Rainey, James (November 6, 2013). "Foundation pledges $5 million for Watts social, educational programs". Los Angeles Times.
  35. ^ "Para Los Niños". Paralosninos.org. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  36. ^ Uribarri, Adrian G. (January 11, 2007). "Developer gets recognition for aid to children". Los Angeles Times.
  37. ^ Smith, Dakota (December 16, 2008). "Ground Blessing Takes Place for New USC Caruso Catholic Center". Curbed LA.
  38. ^ Gordon, Larry (December 9, 2012). "Lavish new church, meeting center to serve USC Catholics". Los Angeles Times.
  39. ^ "$25 million gift from Tina and Rick Caruso to endow head and neck department - USC News". USC News. University of Southern California. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  40. ^ a b Schmidt, Ingrid (March 13, 2019). "Lori Loughlin's Daughter Vacationed on Billionaire USC Official's Yacht". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 14, 2019. Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli's 19-year-old daughter was on the yacht of billionaire Rick Caruso, the chairman of USC's Board of Trustees, during Tuesday's indictment that charged the couple in a nationwide college cheating scandal.
  41. ^ "Board of Directors". Transplantation.com. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  42. ^ "Saint John's Health Center". St. John's Health Center. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  43. ^ Showley, Roger (August 30, 2015). "Caruso project: A model for speedy development?". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  44. ^ a b c Diehl, Phil (August 11, 2016). "New documents show more Caruso spending". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  45. ^ Zahniser, David (December 28, 2016). "Political donations flow as Rick Caruso seeks approval for a 20-story tower near the Beverly Center". L.A. Times. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  46. ^ "Board of Trustees | USC". University of Southern California.
  47. ^ Moore, Annette (February 9, 2011). "Rick J. Caruso Elected to USC Board". USC News. University of Southern California. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  48. ^ Invictus at Super Yacht Fan.com
  49. ^ "Lori Loughlin Daughter Olivia Leaves Yacht Owned By Top USC Official". TMZ. March 13, 2019. Retrieved March 14, 2019. As Lori Loughlin traveled from Vancouver to L.A. Tuesday night to surrender to federal authorities in the college bribery scandal -- which got her daughter, Olivia Jade, into USC -- Olivia spent the night on the yacht of the Chairman of USC's Board of Trustees
  50. ^ Blum, Steven (March 13, 2019). "Olivia Jade Found Out Her Mom Had Schemed Her Into USC While On Rick Caruso's Yacht". Los Angeles. Retrieved March 14, 2019. Olivia Jade, social media influencer and daughter of actress Lori Loughlin, was apparently spending her spring break on a yacht owned by USC board of trustees member Rick Caruso when the news broke that her mother was part of an epic college bribery case.
  51. ^ Ross, Martha (March 13, 2019). "Will Lori Loughlin's Instagram-famous daughters get kicked out of USC, face other fallout because of parents?". The Mercury News. Retrieved March 14, 2019. TMZ reported late Wednesday afternoon that Lori Loughlin's daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli had been traveling in the Bahamas on a yacht owned by Rick Caruso, the chairman of the USC Board of Trustees
  52. ^ a b c Yakowicz, Will (March 15, 2019). "College Admissions: How Billionaires (Legally) Pump Millions Of Dollars Into Their Children's Schools". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  53. ^ Yakketyyak, Yolanda (June 26, 2018). "Justin Caruso gets a $4.5 million Palisades starter house". yolandaslittleblackbook.com. Retrieved March 18, 2019.