Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rahm Left No Boxes in Chicago Home: Tenant

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The residency hearing that's hindering Rahm Emanuel?s bid for Chicago mayor continued Wednesday with the assertion that many of the prized possessions the candidate claims are kept in his Ravenswood home don't exist.

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The residency hearing that's hindering Rahm Emanuel’s bid for Chicago mayor continued Wednesday with the assertion that many of the prized possessions the candidate claims are kept in his Ravenswood home don't exist.

"There have never been boxes in the house that aren't mine," said Lori Halpin.

Halpin and her husband are tenants in Emanuel's home, at 4228 N. Hermitage Ave.

During Emanuel’s 11-hour questioning Tuesday to defend his residency status, he testified that roughly 100 boxes and other items were in a locked storage in the basement of the home and show his intent to return.

But Halpin said that Emanuel left behind very little when they moved to Washington. 

"They said, 'We're leaving a bed.  We're leaving a piano.'  And you know, if they would have said, 'We're leaving some other valuables in the house, do you mind?' I would think [that would have been appropriate]," she said.

Michael Forde, one of Emanuel’s attorneys, asked Halpin more detailed questions about the basement, such as the possibility of hidden closets or locked storage areas. Halpin said she was unaware of any, but later conceded there were areas of the basement she hasn't been able to access. 

"One I can't get to because shelves are in front of it, and another you can't open it, so I always thought it was kind of a false, decorative [door].  If [the boxes] buried in those two places somewhere, I don't know about it," she told reporters outside the hearing room.

An architect friend of the Emanuels', Mee Kim-Chavez, testified that she personally helped to store and pack the boxes and put them in a crawl space underneath the family room. 

During Wednesday's proceedings, it was requested that Emanuel’s wife Amy Rule be called as a rebuttal witness.

"It's clear Mr. Emanuel may have perjured himself," said one objector, Dr. Lori Chamberlain.

But hearing officer Joseph Morris reiterated his Monday ruling that Rule would not have to testify.

Halpin testified that she was first contacted in September by a representative of Emanuel to discuss a "confidential matter."

"I need to talk to you about a confidential matter. This is extremely confidential. Rahm Emanuel is going to run for mayor and he'd like to move back into the house,” Halpin recalled someone saying to her.

As we know, the couple decided against breaking the lease.

"I didn't want to move. It's a lovely home," said Halpin.

Halpin's husband, Rob Halpin, filed to run for mayor and then withdrew within the last month.

Rahm Emanuel spent Wednesday evening back on the campaign trail and said he appreciates the time he's spending with voters. 

"They're not asking me about boxes in my basement," he said.

The Chicago Board of Elections is working to obtain a verdict on the matter within the next few day as the election is quickly approaching.

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