Rick Caruso’s dad made two fortunes, did jail time. How he shaped his son’s ambitions Read more
In 1998, at a time when the world was going to hell and the American economy was in the toilet, Caruso’s father, Bill, founded a new venture capital firm and put him in charge of the money.
This was a time of great uncertainty, as Bill Caruso was no longer the owner of his father’s business. Instead he was a convicted felon of grand theft. The money he made from his ill-gotten gains had gone through several hands before coming to the Carusos’. He had made his fortune in small, hard-nosed companies, which could survive a good run, but which would die if they weren’t able to find a buyer.
And if they weren’t able to sell, they went bust. Bill’s business model hadn’t failed, just changed. The reason it had failed was because his father had put a stop to the bleeding.
In this period Bill Caruso’s fortune had been taken from his father by lawyers for investors who lost money and had the law help them recover. But Bill’s business model hadn’t failed – it had changed and the Carusos didn’t want their son growing up the way he had. But they thought it was their duty as parents to make sure Bill saw his father’s vision through to the end.
“My dad made two fortunes and did jail time, but how he shaped my career and how I came to do what I’m doing, he didn’t make,” Bill Caruso said in an interview with The Independent from his prison cell.
“I didn’t put him in prison. He never even touched a dollar. What I did was I did my duty and my honor. I wanted my son to do well. That is my legacy.”
Bill Caruso wasn’t like his father. Bill had been a rebel. He was a former Marine who had left the Marines under a cloud and became a high school wrestler. He was a hard-charging man who left a rich but troubled family. Bill left his father to take care of himself.