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Rahm hits Halpin’s credibility

Rob Halp| NBC5

Rob Halpin | NBC5

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Updated: December 13, 2010 11:20PM

When Rob Halpin filled out an application to rent Rahm Emanuel’s Ravenswood house, Halpin gave the name of a business partner as his landlord, instead of his real landlord, who was suing him at the time, according to documents Emanuel’s attorneys filed late Sunday with the Chicago Board of Elections.

Emanuel — the former Obama White House chief of staff who’s now running for Chicago mayor — appears to be challenging Halpin’s credibility in advance of a Board of Elections hearing Tuesday at which Halpin will be a key witness for attorneys who are trying to get Emanuel thrown off the mayoral ballot because they say he hasn’t been a legal Chicago resident for the year leading up to the election, as required to run for mayor.

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown reported last month that Halpin’s last landlord, Zdemek Smid, sued Halpin after Halpin stopped paying rent on the home he was renting from Smid. Halpin said he stopped paying rent because the heat and the jacuzzis in the Bucktown home didn’t work properly.

On Halpin’s application with Prudential Preferred Properties, which he filled out in August 2009, while he was still negotiating a settlement with Smid, Halpin listed the address of Smid’s house but didn’t list Smid as his landlord, according to a copy of the document filed by Emanuel’s lawyers. Instead, Halpin listed John O’Malley. Emanuel’s attorneys also filed a Wall Street Journal article quoting a John O’Malley who is a partner in Halpin’s company, Burnham Strategies, LLC.

Halpin — a late addition to the mayoral race who ultimately decided against running — declined to comment Monday.

Attorneys led by Burt Odelson are challenging Emanuel’s Chicago residency, saying the only exception to the one-year residency requirement is for those who’ve been on active military duty.

Odelson said Monday he does not expect the new documents to hurt his case. He argues that Emanuel has been living in Washington and rented his home in Chicago, so he can’t claim residency.

Emanuel — who tried unsuccessfully to get Halpin to move out when he decided to return to Chicago and run for mayor — has countered that he has continued to pay Chicago property taxes and Illinois’ state income tax and has other bills showing he remained a legal resident of Chicago.

On Sunday, Odelson filed a YouTube video with the Board of Elections that appears to show Emanuel’s house for sale. Emanuel’s attorneys, in turn, filed an e-mail from Emanuel’s wife Amy Rule to Prudential noting that the house was not to be offered for sale, but only for rental.

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