The man behind the @HiddenCash craze that sent nearly 1,000 money seekers trampling through a Whittier park last week said he plans to pay for the park’s repair.
Jason Buzi, the Bay Area real estate investor behind the scavenger hunt-style cash giveaways, agreed to send the city of Whittier $5,000, which is about the cost of the damage done to Penn Park on Thursday night, City Manager Jeff Collier told NBC4.
"We just appreciate Jason stepping up and taking responsibility on this," Collier said. "We're pleased with that and happy we have a resolution."
He said the search in Penn Park "beat up the park pretty bad." Cash hunters trampled on plants, uprooted a newly planted tree, tore apart sprinkler heads and broke fences.
Calling police in on overtime to control the search cost the city an additional $1,700, Collier said.
Buzi called the city on Tuesday to offer a donation for park repairs. Collier said Buzi was "very apologetic, very cordial."
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Buzi told NBC4 he did not "realize initially the extent of the damage," and though he has been coordinating cash drops for a few months, he was "surprised again by how many people showed up."
He added that after seeing crowds of people hunting for cash in Burbank in May, he has tried to keep the hunts to open spaces like parks and beaches.
"This was a smaller park," Buzi of Penn Park during a phone interview. "It probably was not the best choice of time and place."
The promise to pay for damage was also publicly shared on the @HiddenCash Twitter account.
"Talked to city of Whittier. We are paying $5K to reimburse for park repair. They don't want volunteers. They were very nice," the tweet read.
Many @HiddenCash followers took to Twitter to offer help in repairing the park, but Collier said most of the work is already done or in progress.
After the Whittier hunt, @HiddenCash drops continued throughout Southern California over the weekend. A search at Kenneth Hahn State Park on Friday night was cut short when the park closed, but victorious searchers found money in Riverside and LA’s Lincoln Park on Saturday.
A final cash drop occurred in Hermosa Beach on Sunday, after which @HiddenCash said the project will be "taking a little break."