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Tenant in Rahm Emanuel Chicago home rebuffs Emanuel plea to leave. Update

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WASHINGTON---White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel--expected to step down this week to launch a run for mayor of Chicago--tried and failed to persuade his tenant in his Chicago home to move out so Emanuel could move back in, reports my Sun-Times colleague Michael Sneed.

Here's my update, from a souce close to Emanuel: "It's clearly an inconvenience for Rahm and for the current tenants--but it is what it is. That said, as this news has spread in Chicago, Rahm has received some really great offers on places to stay."


Emanuel rented his North Side Chicago home from Sept. 1, 2009 to Sept. 1, 2010--and signed an extension until June, 2011 just six days before Daley announced on Sept. 7 that he would not seek another term.

Reports Sneed: The tenant, Robert Halpin," who described himself as an industrial real estate developer in the midst of heading to Louisville on business Monday, told Sneed: "Look, according to the lease I am not allowed to speak to the media about the house.

"But I can tell you I have no plans to move."

Emanuel used Rick Jasculca--of Jasculca Terman--as a spokesman to explain to Sneed Rahm's response: "Rahm explored the option of moving back into his house, he offered to compensate [Halpin] for three months of rent and then compensate him for the rest of the lease if he moved out," said Rick Jasculca, a close friend and spokesman for Rahm. "It was cordial, but [Halpin] was unwilling to terminate the lease. So now Rahm will explore other options."

MICHAEL SNEED COLUMN ON RAHM EMANUEL HOUSE

t's Chicago politics at its best.

Sneed hears an effort by Chicago mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel to move back into his North Side home next month was axed by the man who leased it.

• The kicker: Sneed also hears rumbles there was a nixed request for Rahm to move into the basement of his leased home if the tenant didn't move out.

• To wit: Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, who has been in the process of quickly building a network to run for mayor -- had been trying to move back into his leased home at 4228 N. Hermitage.

• The upshot: Sneed has learned the tenant, Robert "Rob" P. Halpin, 59, who holds the lease with his wife, Lori, until June 2011, refused to budge.

"I'm told Rahm and a close lawyer friend made several polite phone calls to Halpin last week, but he bumped up against the wrong guy," said a top Sneed source. "Halpin reportedly conducts his business from the house and his two kids are in school. He doesn't want to move."

In a telephone interview, Halpin, who described himself as an industrial real estate developer in the midst of heading to Louisville on business Monday, told Sneed: "Look, according to the lease I am not allowed to speak to the media about the house.

"But I can tell you I have no plans to move."

Through various sources, Sneed was able to piece together the following scenario.

• The backshot: Sneed is told Halpin learned of the availability of the Emanuel home in 2009 via the Internet. Halpin had never met Emanuel when he initially leased it from Sept. 1, 2009, to Sept. 1, 2010.

• The surprise shot: In a strange turn of the political screw, the lease with the Halpins was then renewed on Sept. 1 -- six days before Mayor Daley announced his decision NOT to run for mayor on Sept. 7!

• The buckshot: "Can you imagine," said a top political source. "Rahm must have gone nuts! He had extended the lease until June 2011."

• Rahm's response: "Rahm explored the option of moving back into his house, he offered to compensate [Halpin] for three months of rent and then compensate him for the rest of the lease if he moved out," said Rick Jasculca, a close friend and spokesman for Rahm. "It was cordial, but [Halpin] was unwilling to terminate the lease. So now Rahm will explore other options."

• The big question: Is Emanuel going to have a residency problem in a bid to run for mayor?

• The answer: It's all over the place . . . but probably not.

• Fact: "The city requirement is maintenance of a residence in the city for one year before the election -- which is Feb. 22, 2011," said Election Board spokesman Jim Allen. "We can't pre-judge what facts or allegations might be filed a month from now, but generally, if you go out of state to work and keep ownership of the property -- and keep your voter registration at that address and keep voting absentee -- you shouldn't have a problem. It's like members of the military who serve overseas in Iraq. We don't deny them the right to vote."

• The flip side: "You can bet it's going to be challenged," said an election expert who asked not to be identified. "It's a hot button. Simply owning a building isn't enough. But the terms of the lease might be a different story."

• The stats: Emanuel is a registered voter at the North Hermitage address and voted absentee in the Feb. 2, 2010, Illinois primary, according to Chicago Board of Elections records . . . and the Halpins also updated their voter registration to the Emanuel home in November 2009.

Ah, politics.

4 Comments

Maybe B. Hussein Obama could rent out his basement to Rahm since they're such great buddies. This will be another example of Chicago's "Weasels at Work".

Robert Halpin better watch his back.

The compensation seems more than fair. He should be able to find another place to move to without being seriously inconvenienced. Plus I'm sure Emanuel has given him fair treatment as a tenant. Is Halpin even allowed to conduct his business from that home address? If he is going to play hardball with Emanuel, he should make sure that he hasn't violated any of the terms of the lease.

Interesting. I agree, the compensation seems more than fair. Haplin can surely find another place. For once, headlines about Rahm Emanuel don't involve his use of profanity. A new Chief of Staff can be needed, as Rahm is leaving his post. Rahm wants a position involving real power, and is running for Mayor of Chicago. The current mayor is finishing out his term and will not seek reelection. The chance was brought up the second Daley announced it, as Rahm is recognized to want the spot.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 28, 2010 8:15 AM.

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