CHICAGO -- Taking center stage at the Chicago Board of Elections hearing Wednesday was Lori Halpin, the woman who currently rents Rahm Emanuel's North Side home with her husband Rob.
In the second day of hearings to determine whether the former White House chief of staff meets the residency requirements to run for mayor, Lori Halpin recounted the phone call she received in September informing her Rahm Emanuel planned to return to Chicago to run for mayor and wanted to move back into his house. According to Halpin, the person on the phone said it was a "highly confidential matter.... extremely confidential."
Halpin said she and her husband had no desire to move their family out of the house. The Halpins had recently extended the lease through June 30, 2011, to coincide with the end of Emanuel's lease for the home he was renting in Washington, DC.
The big question that had observers and objectors in the hearing room scratching their heads Wednesday: where exactly did Rahm Emanuel store boxes of his family's personal belongings?
Lori Halpin claims Emanuel had no personal belongings left in the house, except for an old sofa, king size bed, tv, cassette player, and the family's piano. Emanuel testified Tuesday there were 100 boxes with family possessions stored in a locked storage area.
Emanuel's attorney asked Halpin how many of the storage closets in the home's basement were locked, and Halpin replied, "None."
During earlier questioning she mentioned, "There have never been boxes in the house that weren't mine or my possessions."
Halpin said she has never seen the boxes Emanuel referred to in his testimony Tuesday. Emanuel's attorney asked Halpin if it was possible the Emanuels could have property locked up in the home without her knowing. Halpin replied, "anything is possible."
This afternoon Emanuel's legal team called an Emanuel family friend to testify, who stated she helped Emanuel's wife pack dozens of boxes containing family possessions and then stored them in a locked crawl space in the basement.
Lori Halpin was the second witness to testify in the hearing challenging Rahm Emanuel's residency as it relates to his run for mayor. After her testimony, Halpin told reporters she's a registered Democrat. When asked if she believes Emanuel is a resident of Chicago, she replied, "that is a loaded question I don't want to answer."
Illinois law requires candidates running for office to live in the city where they are running for a full year prior to the election. Election day for Chicago's mayoral race is February 22, 2011.