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Here's how Antonio Villaraigosa made millions since leaving the mayor's office

Former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with Banc of California Chief Executive Steven Sugarman, left. (Robert Gauthier)
Former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with Banc of California Chief Executive Steven Sugarman, left. (Robert Gauthier)

Since leaving the Los Angeles mayor’s office in 2013, Antonio Villaraigosa has made more than $4 million by advising companies such as Herbalife, Banc of California and natural resources company Cadiz, teaching at the University of Southern California and earning speaking fees, according to tax returns his gubernatorial campaign released on Tuesday.

In addition, Villaraigosa earns an annual pension payment worth around $100,000 from his years serving in local government.

Villaraigosa is the final Democratic candidate running for governor to release his tax returns. He allowed reporters to review six years of returns Tuesday morning at the San Francisco office of his campaign consultants.

A key question once Villaraigosa ended his mayoral tenure in 2013 was how he would replicate the high-flying lifestyle to which he became accustomed while serving as a state and city leader. When his term ended in July of that year, he told reporters that he left office “with no job, no house, no car” because, he said, he “was focused on the city of Los Angeles.”

His income increased dramatically after he left office. In 2012, the final full year of his mayoral tenure, Villaraigosa reported $155,775 in adjusted gross income. In 2014, his first full year out of the mayor’s office, Villaraigosa reported $1.38 million in adjusted gross income.

Villaraigosa was paid by nearly two dozen clients in the years since he left office — his longest working relationships are with Herbalife and Banc of California. It’s unclear exactly how much he was paid by the companies. Aside from a brief window in 2013, he was compensated through a multi-member limited liability company, and did not disclose how much each client paid for his services.

Nutrition supplements company Herbalife has been called a “pyramid scheme” by its critics, who allege the multi-level marketing company preys on the poor and minorities. In a 2016 settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Herbalife agreed to pay $200 million to its sellers and to change its business practices, though the company said it was settling to avoid the cost of protracted litigation.

Villaraigosa said he was proud to work for the company in a recent interview.

“They were an L.A. company, an L.A. company whose product and their whole platform is about health and nutrition, they give people a shot at building, if not a small business, at least a little extra income on a monthly basis,” Villaraigosa told La Opinion earlier this month. “My mother sold Tupperware and Avon, I know why Latinos and blacks do it, they need a few extra bucks. It´s called a multiple level marketing company. That’s what Tupperware is, what Avon is — they’ve been around for 30 years. Pyramid schemes aren’t around for 30 years.”

As Villaraigosa’s income rose, so did his tax bill. By 2016, he paid $471,292 in federal taxes and $121,480 in state taxes.

Villaraigosa did not contribute to charity in 2011, 2012 or 2013. He gave a total of nearly $30,000 to charities over the following three years, including to Los Angeles schools he attended, the Wounded Warrior Project and the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a nonprofit he created to raise money for the public schools he took over as mayor.

The returns also provided a glimpse at Villaraigosa’s personal life.

Between 2011 and 2016, he paid ex-wife Corina Villaraigosa $198,387 in alimony payments. He filed as a single person until 2016, when he married Patricia Govea. That year he claimed her son Sebastian as a dependent.

Villaraigosa also deducted $57,432 in mortgage interest payments after buying a $2.5-million home in the Hollywood Hills in 2015.

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