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Emanuel Tenant Testifies At Residency Hearing

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Lori Halpin

Lori Halpin, who is renting Rahm Emanuel’s house with her husband, speaks to reporters after testifying at an election board hearing on Emanuel’s bid for mayor. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Rahm Emanuel’s tenant on Wednesday questioned his testimony at his residency challenge hearings a day earlier.

Emanuel had testified that he and his wife stored 100 boxes of personal possessions, including his wife’s wedding dress, locked in a storage area in the basement.

But as CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, Lori Halpin, who is renting the Emanuel home with her husband Robert, claimed Wednesday that she hasn’t seen hide nor hair of the boxes Emanuel said he left behind.

Storing prized possessions in locked storage areas was supposed to show Emanuel clearly intended to return from Washington, D.C., after serving at the White House. This afternoon, Laurie Halpin claimed she’d searched the house from top to bottom.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts Reports

Asked if any part of the basement is controlled by a lock and key, Halpin said, “No, I’ve never found anything that is locked in the house.”

She also said she believes she’s been in every area of the house since she and her husband began renting from Emanuel and she’s never seen the boxes or the wedding dress that Emanuel said were locked away.

On Tuesday, Halpin said she was willing to allow members of the media and the Chicago Board of Elections to come to the house to look for themselves.

“If that’s what it comes to, yes,” Halpin said.

A spokesman for Emanuel said he testified under oath that the boxes are there.

There also is a question of the Halpins’ credibility. First, they allegedly lied on their lease application, then refused to move out when he wanted back in, then Rob Halpin briefly filed to run against Emanuel in the race for mayor. Now the Halpins, in essence, are claiming he’s a liar.

Emanuel’s attorneys said they’ll have more testimony about the boxes later.

The dispute comes after Emanuel seemed to get a boost from Tuesday’s 12-hour hearing, and a new poll commissioned by the Chicago Tribune, which indicates Emanuel favored by 32 percent of likely voters polled.

That’s not nearly as much support as Emanuel’s own survey showed and, with a full 30 percent of voters still undecided, the race is still far from decided.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and former Chicago Board of Education head Gery Chico had 9 percent each in the Tribune poll.

State Sen. James Meeks, who got 7 percent, said there’s plenty of silver lining in the poll.

“Sixty-eight percent of the people in the city of Chicago have not settled on Mr. Emanuel,” Meeks said. “That poll also shows that 30 percent of the people of Chicago have not made up their mind, and so I’m on my way to convince that 30 percent of the people that I’m their choice.”

Meantime, an internal memo obtained from the Chico campaign indicated that their own tracking poll showed support for Emanuel dropping and support for Chico gaining.

This early, of course, polls are polls and reality is reality. Sometimes there’s a relation between the two, but not always.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine, CBS 2 Political Producer Ed Marshall and Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts contributed to this report.

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