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Jackson’s D.C. home removed from public listing

Exterior view Jesse JacksJr.'s house. | Lynn Sweet photo

Exterior view of Jesse Jackson Jr.'s house. | Lynn Sweet photo

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Updated: October 25, 2012 6:21AM

U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Washington D.C. real estate listing was yanked from public view, just days after aides said the Jacksons were selling it for $2.5 million to defray mounting medical bills.

An official MLS listing obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday indicated the four-bedroom Victorian-style attached row house in Dupont Circle was “withdrawn” from the market on Wednesday — the same time that news broke that Jackson and his

wife had listed the property. One source close to the Jacksons said the listing was made private because of safety and security concerns.

Last week’s news of the house sale put a spotlight on the couple’s private residence, including disclosing the property address and photos detailing the inside of the home.

“It’s a private listing now,” said Jackson spokesman Kevin Lampe, reached in Sweden on Sunday.

Sean Aalai, a licensed realtor who works in the same neighborhood where the Jacksons are living said $2.5 million is within reason for a home within that area. However, he also noted that the property had not been updated. Aalai said the property listing was withdrawn a few weeks after it was first entered.

“If it isn’t active in the MLS then no agents would know it is available for their buyers. But there could be some special circumstances that I don’t know about. . . It doesn’t make sense that they put it into the system first but then made it a private listing,” Aalai said. “I have heard of private listing (usually referred to as pocket listings) but I believe they are rare and the concept doesn’t make too much sense. Perhaps something happened from the time they listed the property to the time they pulled the listing.”

When asked to respond to Jackson opponents who said the house sale was a sign the congressman’s future prospects were doubtful, Lampe said: “it’s speculation.”

“His name is still on the ballot,” Lampe said. When pressed to comment on whether Jackson were still running for reelection, Lampe repeated: “He’s still on the ballot.”

Lampe later added: “We’re waiting for the doctor to release him to send him back to work.”

Jackson aides indicated last week that the couple put the house on the market to defray the cost of medical bills. The Sun-Times reported last week that the couple took out a $405,000 loan against the Washington D.C. home two years ago. The couple also owns a home in the city’s South Shore neighborhood.

The Jacksons have offered little public comment since Jackson took a leave from his congressional post on June 10.

The property was placed on the market Sept. 8, according to real estate data.

That’s one day after Jackson aides announced the congressman had been released from Mayo Clinic and was back with his kids in Washington, D.C. “He may be back to work on Monday,” his spokesman said at the time and his wife, Sandi, had said her husband intended on staying in office.

Jackson Jr. though did not show up to last week’s congressional session, and, as the Nov. 6 election nears, election opponents have increasingly called on him to clarify his political intentions. Jackson’s aides announced the congressman’s leave two weeks after he started it, initially saying he suffered from exhaustion. Later, Mayo Clinic released a statement saying Jackson suffered from bipolar depression.

News of the house sale last week prompted speculation that Jackson would not continue in his position in the 2nd congressional district. It also renewed focus on the fact that the Jacksons have maintained their primary residence — as well as their children’s private schooling — in Washington D.C. even as the two represent constituencies in Illinois. Sandi Jackson is a Chicago alderman (7th) and often flies into Chicago for meetings.

Technically, Jackson Jr. has until Oct. 22 to withdraw from the ballot and the party would have until Oct. 29 to fill the vacancy. However, election officials say that in reality that ship has sailed because ballots were verified in August and some have been mailed out already — with Jackson’s name on them.

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