The ongoing college admissions scandal has taken some remarkable turns, and one of the strangest yet is about where one of the central figures was when this broke Tuesday. That would be actress Lori Loughlin’s 19-year-old daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli, who goes by “Olivia Jade” on social media. As per a TMZ report Wednesday, Jade spent Tuesday, and Tuesday night, with one of her friends on a yacht in the Bahamas. But that yacht was owned by her friend’s dad, who just happens to be the chairman of the USC board of trustees:
We’ve learned 19-year-old Olivia was on Rick Caruso’s yacht in the Bahamas. Caruso’s daughter, Gianna, Olivia and several other friends were spending spring break in the area.
Gianna and Olivia have been friends for quite some time, occasionally posting photos of them together on social media.
Caruso, a billionaire who has major real estate holdings including The Grove in L.A., tells TMZ, “My daughter and a group of students left for spring break prior to the government’s announcement yesterday. Once we became aware of the investigation, the young woman decided it would be in her best interests to return home.” Olivia is off the yacht.
Caruso was elected Chairman of USC’s Board of Trustees last year.
That must have been real awkward once the story broke, huh? It’s unclear if Caruso himself was there, but he did post a statement about this scandal yesterday on USC’s press website:
The charges filed today against employees of USC are disturbing and the alleged activity is absolutely wrong. I am saddened that these people would abuse their positions of trust and, as the government has alleged, victimize USC in the process. There is no option other than zero tolerance for this type of behavior. As a result, USC has fired the alleged wrongdoers.
Rick J. Caruso
Chair of the USC Board of Trustees
Update: And here’s the yacht in question:
The Invictus. It’s a humble little tub. pic.twitter.com/vuITonrkHA
— John Doyle (@JDoyle_Rules) March 14, 2019
The Invictus reportedly is 216 feet long and can accommodate 12 guests and 19 crew, and it’s valued at $100 million. It’s featured in a Boat International article here, if you want more photos and details. And yes, Caruso owns it; in 2013, he had a high-profile fight with locals in Newport Beach about anchoring it there.
But this is just the latest twist in this story involving Jade. She’s a prominent social media personality, with around 2 million YouTube subscribers and 1.3 million Instagram followers, and she’s landed paid endorsements for Amazon Student and other services. One of those (seen above) saw her showing off the “OJ” decorating the window of her USC dorm, which, uh, has some other connotations around USC:
Lori Loughlin’s daughter immediately started returning on the investment tho pic.twitter.com/Ypc7CT7MNd
— Gabrielle Bluestone (@g_bluestone) March 12, 2019
But how did Jade get to USC in the first place? Well, Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli (founder of the Mossimo fashion brand), are accused of “paying $500,000 to have Olivia and her sister classified as crew recruits for U.S.C. despite never having participated in the sport,” including two $50,000 bribes to USC senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel (who was fired Tuesday along with famed water polo coach Jovan Vavic, with both Heinel and Vavic indicted as well). Loughlin herself flew back to Los Angeles (from Vancouver, where she was shooting one of her many Hallmark Channel projects) Tuesday night to surrender herself to authorities. (She’s now been released on $1 million bail.) And it took some doing to get her in, with one of the implicated middlemen even filling out her official application:
After receiving provisional admission based on pretended to row crew, Loughlin's daughter couldn't figure out how to fill out the actual application, so they had the fraudster fill one out for her.
The scope of laziness and entitlement here is something pic.twitter.com/4Gi8ZXkXcO
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 12, 2019
Jade also recently posted a video about the difficulties of balancing school and work. “The first week of school, I’m leaving to go to Fiji for work.”
Full House star @LoriLoughlin was one of 50 arrested in the largest college admissions cheating scam ever prosecuted in the U.S. She allegedly paid USC $500k for both her daughters to attend.
— Meaghan Mackey (@KRCRMeaghan) March 12, 2019
But hey, while Jade may not have been a crew recruit, at least she got to spend some time on a yacht. Maybe she should have been tagged as a fake sailing recruit? Oh wait, that’s Stanford.