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Rahm Emanuel’s renters move out

Rob Halpwalks his car after moving out his rented house 4228 N. Hermitage Ave. Thursday June 23 2011 Chicago. The

Rob Halpin walks to his car after moving out of his rented house, 4228 N. Hermitage Ave., Thursday, June 23, 2011, in Chicago. The owner of the house is Mayor Rahm Emanuel. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: May 9, 2012 9:36AM

The feared spectacle of Mayor Emanuel having to pry Rob and Lori Halpin from his Ravenswood home at the expiration of their lease next week did not happen — the Halpins moved out of the home a week early Thursday.

This clears the way for Chicago’s mayor to move out of his temporary apartment and move his family back into the home they left two years ago. Emanuel has said he will first do a thorough cleaning and repainting of the home with blue and white siding, a red painted brick front porch and solar panels on the roof.

The cigar-chomping Halpin’s refusal to end his $5,000-a-month lease on that home early forced Emanuel to spend about $800,000 in legal fees defending his right to run for mayor under the Illinois Election Code’s strict definition of “residency.”

Was he a Chicago resident? A Washington, D.C., resident? The courts went back and fourth. An appellate court threw him off the ballot. The state Supreme Court put him back on.

Lori Halpin, who had testified she saw no wedding dress or other family heirlooms stored in the house, left with the moving vans at noon.

Reached at her new home an hour later — she would not say where it is — she said, “Were moving. Moving trucks are here. The lease was up at the end of June. The movers are yelling at me right now — I’ve got to go.”

A little after 2 p.m., Rob Halpin, a developer of industrial parks whose animosity with Emanuel grew to the point that he briefly filed to run against him for mayor, got in the station wagon full of bags and boxes and drove away. It’s not clear whether the couple will return to the home before the Emanuels retake possession.

Emanuel renewed his lease with the Halpins just days before former Mayor Richard M. Daley made his surprise announcement that he would not run for re-election. Emanuel asked the Halpins to move out early, but they refused unless he paid them a premium. His decision not to proved to be a costly one.

Emanuel was forced to submit to 12 hours of cross-examination by skilled lawyers and rank amateurs at an election board hearing at which he testified that he and his wife left her wedding dress and other important items in the house. A search of the house proved they were there.

Emanuel has made the whole ordeal a punch line in his speeches since then. One of his first bits of advice to Bill Daley when he took Emanuel’s former job as chief of staff was: “Don’t rent out your house.”

Emanuel has been staying in an apartment on the Near Northwest Side.

During the weeks-long residency hearings at the Board of Elections, Emanuel’s attorney Mike Forde asked Lori Halpin, “You understand that on June 30, 2011, you will have to change” the address on your driver’s license?

“If we move out of the house?” she asked.

When you move out of the house,” Forde corrected her.

Contributing: Fran Spielman

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