Sneed exclusive: The “Viking” just collared the “Bronx Bulldog!”
Congratulations to Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, a native of New York, on his engagement to Chicago personal injury attorney Kristin Barnette, a 5-foot-9-inch blonde of Scandinavian descent who brooks no nonsense.
“When Kristin proposes, one complies,” he joked.
“Look, I like keeping my private life private, but I finally met my match,” said McCarthy, whose divorce was recently finalized.
“I’ve gone through some extreme life changes in the past few years: coming to Chicago, going through a long separation and subsequent divorce process which ended a 28-year marriage — and having a heart attack,” said the city’s top cop.
“I’m not gun-shy and feel this will be a very positive move in my life,” said McCarthy, who has two daughters from his previous marriage.
It will be the first marriage for Barnette, 35, who was listed among the state’s top 40 lawyers under 40 by the Chicago Law Bulletin.
“At the end of the day, this is a chance for a new beginning,” he said. “Kristin is really smart, witty and really takes good care of me.
“Look, she saved my life when I was having a heart attack. I didn’t know what was wrong and was hesitant to go to a hospital — and she handed me an aspirin and practically threw me in a cab,” McCarthy said. “She took charge and would have thrown me over her shoulder if she could.”
“I tease her that I didn’t have to propose — I just had to comply,” said McCarthy, who claims Kristin “has been telling me recently we didn’t need to get engaged first. Getting married was OK.”
So four days ago, McCarthy secretly picked up a diamond ring he had ordered 10 days before; made a reservation for dinner Friday night with a sunset view at the John Hancock building’s Signature Room at the 95th; pulled the ring out of his pocket, got up from the table and got down on his knee to propose.
“Then we went from highbrow to lowbrow,” he said. “I took her to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and then joined our friends in a surprise party I arranged in advance at the Brehon Pub.”
“It’s hard to surprise me, but Garry caught me completely off guard,” said Barnette, who was raised in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s old stomping ground of Park Ridge and is the niece of 39th Ward Dem Committeeman Randy Barnette — hubby of Ald. Marge Laurino (39th).
“I thought he was pulling out his Blackberry when he pulled out the ring,” she said. “I was so stunned when he got on his knee, I only saw his lips moving, but couldn’t hear what he was saying. He actually had to ask me twice. Then the owner sent over champagne.”
“We met in 2011, but our first date was for brunch in March 2012,” she said. “Our lives revolve around work and each other and nonstop laughter. His job is so serious — laughter helps.
“I know we both feel — as well as our friends — we’ve met our match.”
Her majesty’s service . . .
Sneed’s tip Wednesday that White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett may be using her Secret Service detail for unjustifiable personal business — while the agency reels from bumbling and understaffing — netted this “I spy” Thursday.
A top Sneed source spotted Jarrett with a pile of papers in her lap sitting outside the men’s locker room at the East Bank Club early Thursday morning accompanied by a bodyguard — while an official black SUV with the engine running was waiting outside.
At her service . . .
Is Jarrett getting Secret Service protection because of a death threat?
◆ To wit: A White House aide told Sneed on Thursday that Jarrett “has tremendous respect for the Secret Service, which determines protective measures” for White House officials — but suggested we call the Secret Service for further info.
◆ Suddenly, the Secret Service returned our earlier calls and let us know: “The Secret Service provides protection to limited executive branch officials based on executive order from the White House through [the Department of Homeland Security], after a protective threat assessment is conducted by the Secret Service on each official,” Secret Service spokeswoman Laura Topolski said.
Hmmm. So what was the threat? The Secret Service detail assigned to former White House senior strategist David Axelrod was given an explanation. Why no reason for Jarrett’s phalanx of protectors?