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Antonio Villaraigosa made millions consulting for likes of Herbalife, Banc of California

Get to know gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was a labor organizer, oversaw the state Assembly and now wants to be governor of California.
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Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was a labor organizer, oversaw the state Assembly and now wants to be governor of California.

Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa has parlayed his business consulting firm into a million-dollar operation since leaving the Los Angeles mayor’s office in 2013, averaging more than $1.3 million in income annually, according to a review of his recent tax records.

Villaraigosa, a candidate for California governor next year, paid an average of 32 percent in federal taxes and 10 percent in state taxes from 2014 through 2016, the three full years since he left office. He also paid another $35,000 a year in self-employment taxes over that time.

Villaraigosa allowed reporters to review his six most recent years of tax returns on Tuesday at the downtown San Francisco offices of his political consultant. While his campaign released a list of 17 clients, along with timelines for his services, the bulk of the tax forms do not include a breakdown of how much he or his company earned from each of the entities.

The exception came in 2013, where a schedule of receipts showed he took in $162,500 from nutritional supplement company Herbalife International, $150,000 from Banc of California, $100,000 from Pro Tour Memorabilia, $90,800 from the speakers bureau Harry Walker Agency, $68,750 from consulting firm Daniel Edelman and $50,000 from Cadiz Inc., which was founded by his friend Keith Brackpool, who for years has sought a water-pumping project in the Mojave Desert.

Michelle Jeung, a spokeswoman for the former mayor, said it was “fair” to conclude that the figures carried over similarly into subsequent years. She noted that Villaraigosa’s campaign will soon file a statement with the state that provides broad ranges of income by client for the most recent year.

Jeung said the reason the firms and dollar amounts weren’t included in the three most recent years of tax documents is because his limited liability company was changed from a single-member to a multi-member entity that included his four children, which relaxed filing requirements.

Villaraigosa’s salary and the partnership’s annual expenses were not broken down in those tax forms. Nor were the nature or location of his speaking engagements facilitated through the Harry Walker Agency, or others.

The tax returns also showed:

▪ He reported no charitable contributions until 2014, when he donated $10,255 to a mix of schools and nonprofit organizations, then about $12,000 and $8,000 the following years. Money went to the school partnership he started as mayor, Wounded Warriors and Planned Parenthood.

▪ He separately pays more than $30,000 a year in alimony to his ex-wife, Corina Villaraigosa.

▪ While the tax documents provide an incomplete picture of his income, they show Villaraigosa began drawing $48,392 in pension payments from the Los Angeles City Employees Retirement System, in 2013, which increased to nearly $100,000 per year over the next three years.

▪ His pay as a professor at the Saul Price School of Public Policy at USC grew from $12,427 for a few months in the 2013 tax year to $107,220 in 2014, $94,665 in 2015 and $47,050 for part of 2016.

▪ He made $2,446 for a TV cameo with comedian George Lopez, along with about $900 in acting residuals, in 2016.

Two of the companies he’s worked for have been clouded in controversy. Herbalife has been criticized by opponents who contend it preys on poor and minority consumers. Banc of California is reportedly under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Villaraigosa has told The Bee he is proud of his work with Herbalife and Banc of California. He said Herbalife promotes health and nutrition, including in underserved communities.

“And also promoting entrepreneurship and small business,” he said. He called the bank “the gold standard for community reinvestment.”

Recently, Villaraigosa was singled out by his Democratic rivals for governor for holding out on releasing his tax forms until this Thanksgiving week, following releases by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Treasurer John Chiang and former schools chief Delaine Eastin.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

Villaraigosa’s taxes

Gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa’s client list, provided by his campaign

  • AltaMed – January 2016 to present
  • Aqora Capital Management – May 2015
  • Banc of California – July 2013 to December 2016
  • Cadiz, Inc. – December 2013 to December 2014
  • Chuckwalla – May 2015 to December 2016
  • Daniel Edelman Inc. – October 2013 to October 2014
  • Education Post – July 2014 to December 2016
  • EdVoice – June 2014 to September 2016
  • Gateway Science and Engineering – July 2013 to December 2013
  • Harry Walker Agency – July 2013 to July 2014 (periodically after)
  • Herbalife International – September 2013 to August 2016
  • LBI Media/Liberman Broadcasting – January 2014 to January 2015
  • McLarty Associates – January 2014 to December 2015
  • Pro Tour Memorabilia – November 2013 to May 2014
  • Stronach Group – March 2014 to September 2014
  • USA China Investments – November 2014 to November 2016
  • Usher by Microstrategy – May 2014 to May 2015
  • Villaraigosa’s campaign provided a documents stating he also was on the board of the textbook and software company McGraw-Hill Education Inc. from July 2014 to December 2016.
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