Rick Joseph Caruso is founder and chief executive officer of Caruso Affiliated, one of the largest privately held real estate companies in the United States, with a portfolio of the retail and mixed-use properties that attract tens of millions of guests each year. He has been an active Los Angeles civic leader, serving as President of the Police Commission and Commissioner of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Early life and education
Caruso was born in Los Angeles. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Southern California in 1980, and graduated from Pepperdine University in 1983 as a Margaret Martin Block Scholar with a Juris Doctor degree. In 1995, he was recognized as the Alumnus of the Year by Pepperdine School of Law.
He worked briefly as a real-estate lawyer representing developers but was soon attracted to the business itself: He "quit practicing law and spent the next 15 years developing industrial buildings in California and elsewhere." He is married to Tina Caruso; the couple has four children.
Caruso began his professional career as a real estate lawyer working at Finley Kumble as a member of its corporate finance department. In 1990 he "quit practicing law" and decided to devote his energies to developing retail and residential properties full-time.
In 1987, Caruso founded Caruso Affiliated, a real estate development firm which 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, and the Marina Waterside.
Caruso has lectured on real estate issues at the Kennedy School of Public Administration at Harvard University, the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning, and Development and the Milken Institute Global Conference.
Caruso participates annually as a guest panelist for the International Council of Shopping Centers.
In 1985, at the age of 25, Rick 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 NY Police Chief 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.
Caruso was a former 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 a ban on raves, the resignation of its GM and the replacement of the Commission panel with a new governing body.
Community activities and Awards
Caruso founded the Caruso Family Foundation, dedicated to supporting organizations that improve the lives of children in need of healthcare and education.
In 2013, the Foundation pledged $5 million to Operation Progress, a Watts-based non profit originally founded by LAPD 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. 
Caruso is involved with and serves on the Board of Para Los Niños, a nonprofit family and child welfare agency in South Los Angeles. The organization dedicated its skid row facility as the Tina and Rick Caruso Child Development Center.
He is also a trustee of the University of Southern California, is on the Pepperdine School of Law Board of Visitors and on the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. The Caruso Catholic Center and Our Savior Parish Church on the USC campus was endowed by and named after Caruso following his contribution of $7.5 million. He sits on the board of the National Institute of Transplantation and is on the Board of Saint John’s Hospital, and The California Medical Center Foundation
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