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Rahm Emanuel in no rush to move into house

Rahm Emanuel’s house Hermitage

Rahm Emanuel’s house on Hermitage

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Updated: October 22, 2011 12:15AM

It looks like Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his family won’t be moving back into their Ravenswood home until all traces of their recalcitrant tenant are removed.

Eight days after Rob and Lori Halpin moved out, the mayor was asked Friday when Chicago’s new first family would be moving back into the home they left two years ago.

“I don’t have a date specific. It will be before the summer’s out. We’re making some fixes, as you can imagine, to the house that are things that [wife] Amy and I would like to do,” said Emanuel, who has been renting an apartment on the near Northwest Side.

“But I’ll promise you this: when I do have the date, you can get me a housewarming gift, OK? And I’ll let you know, kind of three or four categories . . . I don’t know about [letting the media] visit. I have children. But I have a list. We’re registered at Crate & Barrel, in case you want to” buy a gift, the mayor joked.

Emanuel renewed Halpin’s $5,000-a-month lease just days before Richard M. Daley announced his political retirement, only to ask Halpin to leave early, so the former White House chief of staff could move back home and run for mayor.

Halpin refused, setting the stage for the marathon residency challenge that cost Emanuel $800,000 in legal fees and nearly knocked him off the ballot.

While the bitter challenge raged, Halpin filed nominating petitions to run for mayor against Emanuel, before dropping out of the race.

Meanwhile, Halpin’s wife, Lori, testified at the residency hearing in an attempt to pull the rug out from under Emanuel’s strongest argument.

Lori Halpin insisted she saw no wedding dress or other family heirlooms stored in the house. The items were subsequently found in the house, proving that the Emanuels had every intention of returning to their Ravenswood home and were, in fact, Chicago residents.

Emanuel was forced to endure 12 hours of cross-examination by skilled attorneys and rank amateurs at an election board hearing that ultimately turned him into a sympathetic figure and dominated much of the mayoral campaign.

Since then, he has turned the entire ordeal into a self-deprecating punch line.

When Bill Daley, brother of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, was chosen to replace Emanuel as White House chief of staff, the new mayor had one piece of advice: “Don’t rent your house.”

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