Citing a need to focus more on his business activities, developer Rick Caruso resigned today from the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners.


Caurso, a James Hahn supporter who was instrumental in the ouster of Bernard Parks as police chief, said he met with Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa and informed him he would resign.


The resignation is effective July 1 or upon the swearing in of a replacement, according to a copy of the letter sent to Villaraigosa. In an interview, Caruso said he wanted to make way for a Villaraigosa appointee.


"I met with Antonio and I have not asked to be reappointed," Caruso said. "I told him I would submit my resignation. I told him I would be available anyway I can through a transition."


Prior to Caruso's announcement, there had been speculation that Caruso and fellow police commissioners Corina Alarcon and Rose Ochi would submit their resignations as soon as Villaraigosa took office.


Hahn moved Caruso from the Board of Water and Power to the Police Commission to assist in reforming the LAPD and restoring morale among its officers.


"I was brought in by Jim Hahn to turn the department around, and I have accomplished that," Caruso said. "There's always more that can be done, but critical turnaround is complete; the heavy lifting has been done."


Political analyst and former city commissioner Coby King said it's not unusual for appointed commissioners to step aside when a new administration takes over.


"Caruso was very close with Hahn," King said. "It's quite common for commissioners who are particularly close to the outgoing mayor to resign, especially if they've served a long time like he has."


More than stepping down from the police commission, Caruso said he was also moving away from the spotlight. The developer of the Grove shopping center has been a public fixture under the last three mayors.


Since opening the highly successful Grove in the Fairfax district, Caruso's company has undertaken more than $1 billion worth of development projects across the state.


"I love this city," Caruso said. "For the near term, I am going to be active in a more private way supporting things in this city. I won't seek a public role in anything."

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