Entries in Residency (2)


Rahm Emanuel Tries to Prove His Chicago Residency

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- In Washington, Rahm Emanuel had the President’s ear, directed the White House staff, strong-armed members of Congress, and enjoyed his status as a powerful political operative. Now, running for mayor of Chicago, Emanuel finds himself embroiled in an acrimonious debate about his residency -- fending off endless questions about such mundane matters as the city sticker on his car, the clothes left behind in his Chicago home, and the hotels his family stayed in during their visits to the city.

For more than six hours, Emanuel calmly endured sometimes-hostile questions from ordinary citizens and an attorney representing political opponents who want him thrown off the ballot in Chicago’s Feb. 22 mayoral election.  Emanuel chuckled as election lawyer Burton Odelson asked him pointedly, “You’re aware that the statutes in Illinois require that a candidate be a resident of the municipality for one year prior to the election?” Emanuel's attorneys argue that the election law hinges on intent and that, by keeping a Chicago home and voting absentee from Chicago, he demonstrated his intention to remain a citizen of the city he hopes to run.

Odelson displayed real estate pictures of empty rooms in Emanuel’s north side home, apparently in an effort to demonstrate the family took nearly all of their possessions to Washington. “That room is the kitchen?” Odelson asked. “Very good, Mr. Odelson, yes,” Emanuel answered. The mayoral candidate described family items left in storage at the home, including his wife’s wedding dress, family pictures, china, a piano, and a coat worn by his grandfather. 

Emanuel testified that he rented out the home after being named President Obama’s chief of staff. His tenant, Rob Halpin, refused to move out when Emanuel indicated his desire to run for mayor and, briefly, considered a mayoral run himself before dropping out of the race.  

Opponents picked away at Emanuel’s car registration, the terms of his lease, and the schools in which his children were enrolled.  Emanuel, looking alternately bemused and frustrated, responded to a question about e-mails from his wife regarding a car registration sticker by saying, “I’ve learned after 15 years not to doubt my wife.” 

The hearing, expected to last two more days, will produce a recommendation to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.  Its final decision will undoubtedly be appealed in Illinois courts.  So the quarrelsome battle over Rahm’s residency is likely to continue right up until the election and, quite possibly, well beyond it.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Stubborn Renter Considering Challenge to Emanuel for Chicago Mayor

Photo Courtesy - Chicago for Rahm Emanuel(CHICAGO) -- Rahm Emanuel not only has a turf fight on the homefront in his bid to become Chicago's mayor, but a turf fight in his home.

When the former White House chief of staff decided to return to Chicago this year, he first asked Rob Halpin, the man renting his house while he was in Washington, to move out. Halpin refused.

Now, from the comfort of Emanuel's own home, Halpin is considering a bid for Chicago mayor.

''People have come to me asking me to consider running for mayor," Halpin told ABC affiliate WLS in Chicago. "If they get the signatures needed and get me on the ballot, I will run."

That is a pretty tall order. Halpin needs to file a petition with 12,500 signatures by Nov. 22 to make the February election.

Opposition to Emanuel's march to become mayor may need some help. In the days after longtime mayor Richard Daley's surprise announcement that he would not seek another term, as many as 15 local leaders suggested they'd be interested in succeeding him.

"Some just don't have the resources to go up against Rahm," says Dick Simpson, a politics professor at the University of Illinois. "He'll face four or five viable candidates" when they file later this month, but "Rahm is the frontrunner."

But even if Halpin's bid is a non-starter, it has drawn attention to an issue that helps the so-called Rahm-stoppers: Emanuel's residency.

The question of whether he is even qualified to run has loomed over him. The challenge likely to be raised by opponents is based on a longstanding municipal statute that says a candidate must have resided in the city for one year preceding the election.

The city code is clear and there's a real case to be made against Emanuel, election lawyer Burton Odelson said.

"If Rahm had left his house vacant, just as the president of the United States did, and come back to it on occasion, he would have no problem," he said. "He gave up his interest in living in the city of Chicago."

If so, he also gave it up to a stubborn renter and now a possible challenger.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio