‘Imagine what I can do’: Joe Lhota makes a quasi-announcement for mayor

Lhota at the Mandarin Oriental. (Dana Rubinstein)
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"I would not have left the M.T.A., a job and position that I loved, if I was not going to run for mayor of New York," said Joe Lhota today, in his strongest statement to date that he's running.

He made his remarks at the New York Building Congress's annual membership meeting, which was sponsored by real estate players like Forest City Ratner and Lend Lease Construction, just the sort of people whose deep pockets would come in handy in a mayoral campaign.

Lhota, a former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, won positive reviews during his truncated chairmanship of the M.T.A. But he has a number of serious institutional challenges as a candidate, beginning with the fact that he's a Republican without significant name recognition or the means to self-finance. 

He ended his prepared speech, deadpan, quoting Shakespeare's Tempest: "The past is prologue. And if you agree that the M.T.A. is in a better condition today than it was a year ago, then imagine what I can do in my future with a much more complex organization."

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"OK, who has a question for Mayor Lhota?" asked New York Building Congress president Richard Anderson.

In a scrum with reporters afterward, during which Lhota was accompanied by former Giuliani aide Susan Del Percio, he said he plans to file by the end of the week.