Couldn’t happen to a nicer person.
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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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!
â€¢ The buckshot: “Can you imagine,” said a top political source. “Rahm must have gone nuts! He had extended the lease until June 2011.”
â€¢ 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.”
â€¢ The big question: Is Emanuel going to have a residency problem in a bid to run for mayor?
â€¢ The answer: It’s all over the place . . . but probably not.
â€¢ 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.”
â€¢ 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.”
â€¢ 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.