Caruso gives campaign $3.5M cash infusion

Developer uploads funds ahead of mayoral campaign’s home stretch

LA mayoral candidate Rick Caruso (Rick Caruso, Getty)
LA mayoral candidate Rick Caruso (Rick Caruso, Getty)

With two and a half months to go before the November general election — and days after announcing he would step down from his company earlier than planned — Rick Caruso is again infusing his Los Angeles mayoral campaign with personal cash.

Caruso gave $3.5 million to his campaign on Aug. 18, according to a city filing. That massive donation came one day after the developer gave himself $75,000 in a separate donation. The two contributions appear to mark the first time in weeks that Caruso, who is primarily self-funding his campaign, had refilled its coffers.

A representative for the Caruso campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The new money comes as Caruso, who is facing a tough race against the more established Democratic politician Karen Bass, is escalating his campaigning in other ways. Earlier this month Caruso announced internally that he would hand the CEO title at his development firm Caruso to Corinne Verdery on Sept. 1, rather than after the election as the firm had previously planned.

After upending the crowded mayoral race with his entry early this year, Caruso – a longtime big L.A. name who also recently declared himself a Democrat – flooded the region’s media with unprecedented levels of ad spending. Through the June 30 filing period, which includes the primary election and a couple weeks after, Caruso’s campaign had raised and spent more than $41 million, according to ethics commission data, more than $40 million of which came from Caruso himself. That figure blew away the city’s roughly $10 million previous spending record for a mayoral race, which was set by Eric Garcetti in 2013.

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Through the same period Bass, on the other hand, had raised and spent around $5 million — and her campaign has been eager to point out the difference.

“In the primary, we stood up and said that our City Hall cannot be bought,” a statement on her campaign site reads. “Our opponent has no limits on how much he will spend or how much mud he will sling to impose his billionaire’s worldview on the people of Los Angeles.”

After his record primary campaign spending blitz, Caruso gave himself another $750,000 on June 7 — the day of the primary election — and then $400,000 on June 22 and $150,000 on June 27.

He should have plenty of room to keep spending. His net worth is estimated by Forbes at $5.3 billion.

Though the developer’s reputation is sky-high among many in the industry, ahead of the primary real estate interests had also backed other candidates, including Bass and L.A. City Councilman Kevin de Leon.

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Corinne Verdery, a rendering of 333 La Cienega, and Rick Caruso (Getty Images, Caruso Affiliated)
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Meet Rick Caruso's successor-in-waiting: Corinne Verdery