Rick Joseph Caruso
January 7, 1959
|Education||University of Southern California (BS)|
Pepperdine University (JD)
|Occupation||Real estate developer|
|Political party||Democratic (2022–present)|
|Republican (before 2011; 2016–2019)|
Independent (2011–2016; 2019–2022)
|Children||4, including Gigi and Justin|
Rick Joseph Caruso (born January 7, 1959) is an American businessman. A billionaire, he is the founder and former chief executive officer of Caruso, an American real-estate company. He is the chair of the board of trustees at the University of Southern California and was previously the president of the Los Angeles Police Commission and a member of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners.
Early life and education
Caruso, an Italian American, 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. His mother Gloria was a billboard model in her youth. Caruso 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 the Trojan Knights); and a J.D. from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 1983 as a Margaret Martin Brock Scholar.
Real estate development
Caruso was a real-estate lawyer in the corporate finance department at Finley Kumble. In 1987, he founded Caruso, a company that develops, owns and manages properties. He initially purchased parking lots that his father agreed to lease for Dollar Rent-A-Car which he sold when the property rose in value. In 1990, he quit law to develop his retail and residential properties full-time.
His projects include The Grove at Farmers Market in Los Angeles, the Americana at Brand in Glendale, the Commons at Calabasas, the Promenade at Westlake, The Lakes at Thousands Oaks (leased from the City of Thousand Oaks), Waterside Marina del Rey, Palisades Village in Pacific Palisades and the Rosewood Miramar Beach in Santa Barbara.
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, California. 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. All together, Caruso spent $12 million in less than a year on getting the project approved. This spending included television ads, mailers, and consulting services.
In 2016, the Los Angeles 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 this time Los Angeles City Hall approved numerous building projects.
Caruso's company was accused of suppressing free speech over the rejection of an advertisement for a documentary about the Armenian Genocide at the Americana at Brand in 2015 and in 2017. Americana later reversed its advert decision.
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, becoming the youngest commissioner in the history of the city.
In August 2001, Caruso was appointed by Mayor James K. Hahn to the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners and was elected its president. 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.
In 2008, Caruso was elected to serve as a member of the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission, 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, and the replacement of the commission itself with a new governing body. He advocated a ban on rave parties at the two venues.
2022 Los Angeles mayoral race
In 2019, he expressed interest in running in the 2022 election. He announced his candidacy on February 11, 2022, the day before the filing deadline. Caruso spent more than $41 million on his primary campaign, including $39 million of his own money on digital, radio, and television advertising. Caruso finished second in the June election to Karen Bass, and faced her in a runoff election on November 8, which Bass won.
Caruso Family Foundation
In addition to USC and Pepperdine, Caruso has made significant donations to Los Angeles academic institutions including Loyola High School and Brentwood School, which 3 of his children attended.
Caruso and his wife, Tina, established the Caruso Loan Forgiveness Fund which covers the law school loan payments for ten years for low-income and other underserved students.
In October 2019, he donated $50 million to Pepperdine School of Law, which was renamed in his honor. The gift is directed to historically underrepresented students as well as to students pursuing public interest law.
University of Southern California
Caruso's daughter, Gianna "Gigi" Caruso, 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.
In 2018, Caruso was elected chairman of USC's board of trustees. On February 15, 2022, he announced that he would be resigning from the position.
As the chairman of USC's board of trustees, Caruso was criticized for his handling of the George Tyndall USC sexual abuse scandal, in which a USC gynecologist spent 30 years molesting hundreds of patients, despite complaints dating back to 1991. In May 2018, Caruso promised an independent investigation and an accompanying public report, but no report on the investigation has been made public.
In 1995, Caruso was named Alumnus of the Year by Pepperdine School of Law. He was named by the Los Angeles Business Journal as "Developer of the Year" and its 2012 Ernst & Young LLP Master Entrepreneur of the Year.
He has lectured on real estate issues at the Kennedy School of Public Administration at Harvard University, the USC Price School of Public Policy and the Milken Institute Global Conference. He has been a guest panelist for the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Caruso and his wife, Tina, have four children: Alex, Gregory, Justin, and Gianna. They live in the affluent Brentwood section of Los Angeles. All four children have attended the University of Southern California, which their father attended and to which he has donated millions of dollars. Caruso is a devout Catholic.
- Oreskes, Benjamin (January 24, 2022). "Rick Caruso Changes Registration to Democrat as He Weighs a Run for L.A. Mayor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
- Wick, Julia (June 2, 2022). "News Analysis: Rick Caruso was a Republican 3 years ago. Will voters care?". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
- Uribarri, Adrian G. (January 11, 2007). "Developer gets recognition for aid to children". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
- 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". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
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- "'I'm Italian': Los Angeles mayoral contender says he's not white". TheGuardian.com. October 13, 2022.
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- Harris, Mike (December 1, 2021). "Divided Thousand Oaks City Council approves planned six-story apartment complex". Ventura County Star. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
- Vincent, Roger (March 3, 2019). "Grove builder Rick Caruso reimagines Miramar resort with splashes of seaside splendor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
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- "Americana's rejection of ad for documentary about genocide causes controversy". Glendale News-Press. August 9, 2017. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
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- Glendale City Council Public Hearing on Americana Genocide Denial, retrieved June 23, 2020
- "Americana reverses rejection of genocide documentary ad in the wake of controversy". Glendale News-Press. August 17, 2017. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
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- "Attorney Rick Caruso Unanimously Elected to Head Police Commission". Metnews.com. August 22, 2001. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
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- "Hahn Picks Bratton to Lead Police Force". Los Angeles Times. October 3, 2002. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- "Coliseum Commission". Lacoliseumlive.com. September 25, 1945. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Romero, Dennis (February 9, 2011). "Raves: Rick Caruso Calls for Resignation of Coliseum G.M. Patrick Lynch". LA Weekly.
- "Caruso Calls for Resignation of Coliseum Executive Director". Business Wire. February 9, 2011.
- Paul Pringle and Andrew Blankstein (September 29, 2011). "Developer Rick Caruso resigns from Coliseum Commission". Los Angeles Times.
- 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. Archived from the original on September 13, 2013. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
- Romero, Dennis (January 5, 2011). "L.A. Coliseum Commissioner Rick Caruso Likely To Ask For Ban On Raves". LA Weekly.
- "Billionaire Rick Caruso announces run for L.A. mayor". UPI. Retrieved June 8, 2022.
- "Developer Rick Caruso says he might run for L.A. mayor". Los Angeles Times. September 22, 2010.
- Linthicum, Kate; Zahniser, David (October 12, 2012). "Developer Caruso again decides to bow out of L.A. mayoral race". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 12, 2022.
- Nieves, Alexander (February 11, 2022). "Billionaire developer Caruso enters Los Angeles mayor's race". Politico. Retrieved February 12, 2022.
- Rainey, James (June 6, 2022). "With unprecedented spending, Caruso is everywhere. Can the billionaire become overexposed?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 8, 2022.
- "L.A. mayoral primary turnout rises as Bass widens lead over Caruso". LA Times. Retrieved July 16, 2022.
- Blood, Michael R. (November 16, 2022). "LA elects US Rep Karen Bass mayor, first Black woman in post". Associated Press. Retrieved November 16, 2022.
- "Rick Caruso to Receive the 2012 Ernst & Young LLP Master Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award for Greater Los Angeles". Reuters. May 11, 2012.[dead link]
- Crowe, Deborah (May 11, 2012). "Caruso Named Ernst & Young LLP Master Entrepreneur of the Year". Los Angeles Business Journal.
- "Caruso Family Foundation". ProPublica.org. ProPublica. May 9, 2013.
- "Pepperdine School of Law Announces Historic $50 Million Commitment by Alumnus Rick J. Caruso". Pepperdine.edu. Pepperdine University.
- LaFuente, Cat (March 22, 2019). "The Untold Truth Of Gigi Caruso". TheList.com.
- "BWS Magazine, Spring 2016". Issuu.com. July 7, 2016.
- "BWS Magazine, Spring 2017". Issuu.com. October 2, 2017.
- Watanabe, Teresa (October 23, 2019). "Billionaire Rick Caruso gives $50 million to Pepperdine law school to expand access for underserved students". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
- "Pepperdine School of Law Announces Historic $50 Million Commitment by Alumnus Rick J. Caruso | Pepperdine University". www.pepperdine.edu. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
- "$25 million gift from Tina and Rick Caruso to endow head and neck department". USC News. University of Southern California. June 5, 2015. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
- Schmidt, Ingrid (March 13, 2019). "Lori Loughlin's Daughter Vacationed on Billionaire USC Official's Yacht". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
Born with hearing loss, Gigi Caruso was treated by doctors at USC's Keck School of Medicine. In 2015, Rick and Tina Caruso donated $25 million to the school to endow and name it the USC Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, known for research and treatment of ear, nose and throat diseases.
- Smith, Dakota (December 16, 2008). "Ground Blessing Takes Place for New USC Caruso Catholic Center". Curbed LA.
- Gordon, Larry (December 9, 2012). "Lavish new church, meeting center to serve USC Catholics". Los Angeles Times.
- "2/15- A Message from USC Board of Trustees Chair Rick J. Caruso". 2022. February 15, 2022. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
- Ryan, Harriet; Hamilton, Matt (April 1, 2019). "How much of USC's sweeping sexual abuse investigation will stay secret?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
- Chi, Lucy; Nafziger, Audrey; Rowland, Allison (October 18, 2021). "USC and prosecutors owe the public a full account of sex abuse inquiries". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
- "USC Promised Transparency, So Why Is It Acting 'Like The Kremlin'?". LAist. August 19, 2019. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
- Hamilton, Matt; Ryan, Harriet (December 19, 2018). "Must Reads: How George Tyndall went from USC gynecologist to the center of LAPD's largest-ever sex abuse investigation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
- "Former USC campus gynecologist's accusers call for investigation of top university officials". Los Angeles Times. October 6, 2021. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
- Hamilton, Matt; Harriet, Ryan (March 25, 2021). "USC to pay $1.1 billion to settle decades of sex abuse claims against gynecologist". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
- "Executive Profile Rick J. Caruso". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved May 19, 2012.[dead link]
- "Caruso! Not the singing one. The talking one. Rick Caruso talks more LA". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
- "USC 125th Commencement: Speakers at Satellite Ceremonies" (Press release). University of Southern California. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
- "Global Conference 2013 – Rick Caruso". Milken Institute. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
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- 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.
- "Rick Caruso's USC Mission Has Family Roots". Caruso. April 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2022.