Developer Rick Caruso ended the speculation on his political future Thursday by announcing that he will not run for mayor of Los Angeles in the 2013 race.
In a statement to reporters, Caruso said that this is not the appropriate time to leave his company, Caruso Affiliated, responsible for The Grove and the Americana at Brand retail and entertainment centers.
“As a lifelong Angeleno, I have dedicated my career to supporting Los Angeles through world class developments, creating jobs and economic benefits and in working with civic and community organizations throughout Los Angeles,” Caruso said.
Caruso declined to make any comment beyond his written statement.
The billionaire developer had the opportunity to shake up a race in which the frontrunners all have long lists of City Hall credentials. Caruso’s candidacy would have also shaken up the financial field. The latest campaign finance reports have Controller Wendy Greuel and Councilman Eric Garcetti virtually tied at $2.8 million each. Councilwoman Jan Perry has $1.3 million in her account, while former talk radio host Kevin James has raised $275,000.
Speculation that 2013 could be Caruso’s year went into overdrive more than a year ago when the developer spoke to Town Hall Los Angeles. He used the opportunity to take aim at City Hall and its inhabitants.
“I'm frustrated that our current political class often seems incapable of recognizing the scope of the city's challenges, let alone addressing them. They look instead to the next election, the next fundraiser, the next ribbon-cutting or, in many cases, tickets to the next sporting event,” he said in May 2011.
In recent weeks, the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly looked at the possibility of a Caruso campaign. Both LAObserved and Ron Kaye LA reported Caruso was looking to spend $15 million to $20 million on a mayoral run.
Political insiders had speculated that business interests would gravitate to Caruso, especially after former Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner dropped out of the race earlier this year.
Caruso is a former member of LA's Board of Water and Power Commissioners and Police Commission. He resigned from the Coliseum Commission last fall.
In a statement from her campaign, Greuel said the news means she is the only candidate with “real world experience in both a large and small business,” while a consultant with the Perry campaign said she is the “only candidate committed to real reform."
This post has been updated.