Billionaire LA candidate Caruso discloses vast holdings

FILE - Rick Caruso, chairman of the University of Southern California Board of Trustees announces Carol Folt as the USC's 12th president in Los Angeles Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The billionaire developer announced Friday, Feb. 11, 2022 that he is going to enter the race for L.A. mayor. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Billionaire developer Rick Caruso, a candidate for Los Angeles mayor, disclosed a vast network of investments and financial holdings Tuesday that included millions of dollars of stock in blue-chip technology, health care and financial services companies, as well as details on his sprawling real estate empire.

State law requires candidates to disclose financial holdings to avoid potential conflicts of interests, such as when a company that a candidate invests in might be seeking city business. Caruso, a one-time Republican and independent who is now a Democrat, entered the race last week.

A 94-page report provides only a window into the specifics of Caruso’s wealth, which Forbes magazine has estimated at $4.3 billion. Under reporting rules, the value of his investments is listed only in broad ranges, so his exact stake is unknown and could be far higher.

For example, Caruso reported holding stock in several dozen companies, including over $1 million each in Amazon, Apple, internet gear maker Cisco Systems, Costco Wholesale Corp., drug giant Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft Corp., investment bank Morgan Stanley and the Walt Disney Co.

He also listed investments in cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ether and venture firm Harvest Growth Capital.

If elected, Caruso – who is known for building high-end shopping malls -- plans to place his holdings in a blind trust, according to his campaign. He has said he’ll take whatever steps are necessary to avoid a conflict of interest, or the appearance of one.

“We’re going to operate transparently,” Caruso has said of a potential administration.

Some of Caruso’s rivals in a large field of candidates have been drawing attention to his wealth to suggest he’s out of touch with the problems of workaday Angelenos, who have been dealing with soaring housing costs, rising crime, widespread homelessness and the long-running pandemic.

In an interview Monday with The Associated Press, Caruso said he wouldn’t be distracted by name-calling and would focus on curbing crime, dealing with the homeless crisis and other problems.

The election “is about electing somebody that they trust, that has the track record that can actually fix problems,” Caruso said.

“I don’t think people are going to care if you’re rich or poor, you’re white or black, you’re from any culture or background. What they care about is they want their city back that they love,” he said.

The bulk of the report, running more than 60 pages, was a list of names and companies that the report said were “reportable sources of income of $10,000 or more,” located or doing business in the city.

Many appear to be businesses or people that are tenants at one of his numerous properties.

The documents also provided a look into dozens of real estate and other business investments within his sprawling operation.