Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz. Photo by MyNewsLA.com
Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz. Photo by MyNewsLA.com

An opponent of Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz criticized him Friday over the timing of the councilman’s decision to oppose a 20-story high-rise planned near the Beverly Center.

Koretz had originally supported the project, but hours after his opponent in the March election, attorney Jesse Creed, and representatives of a homeowners group held a news conference Thursday at the proposed site denouncing the project, the councilman held his own news conference announcing he had pulled his support.

The reversal also came days after a Los Angeles Times story revealed that the project’s developer, Rick Caruso, and his affiliates have given more than $476,000 to all but one of the city’s 17 elected officials and their initiatives over the past five years. However, Koretz only received a small portion, totaling $2,200 since 2011.

“As is typical of a career politician like him, it took an LA Times story and community outcry for him to change his mind,” Creed said in a post on his campaign’s Facebook page. “Now that Caruso has heard the communities’ concerns, I’m hopeful that he’ll do what he has a long history of doing and work with neighborhood leaders like myself to make changes to the development.”

A spokesman for Caruso did not reply to a request to comment.

Koretz said he previously supported the project because of its support by residents of an adjacent condominium building, the Burton Way Homeowners Association and the Mid-City West Community Council. But with the recent opposition from the Beverly Wilshire Homes Association, he said he changed his mind.

“I conditioned my support upon the developer meeting with representatives of the only neighborhood organization who opposed the project and directed the developer to negotiate and work out something which addressed their issues,” Koretz said. “My position reflected the community and organizations which I had heard from at that time.”

The high-rise was approved by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission in November, despite being 240 feet high, well above the 45 feet that zoning guidelines limit new buildings to in the neighborhood.

Koretz said his “strongest concern is the height of the building” and that he called on developer Rick Caruso “to continue meeting with neighborhood representatives to come up with a scaled-down version of the building which would be more appropriate for the area.”

Koretz said he “was planning on announcing my opposition a few days from now when everybody was back from the holidays. However, I felt it was timelier to do so tonight, after leaders in the Beverly Wilshire Homes Association voiced their strong disapproval at a press conference.”

— City News Service

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