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Ex-Supt. Garry McCarthy took a try at helping Bottled Blonde

Former Supt. Garry McCarthy. | Sun-Times files

Since Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired him in the wake of the Laquan McDonald scandal, former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s name has been linked with a string of high-profile jobs, from City Hall’s fifth floor to Scotland Yard.

There was the time last year when a British newspaper reported McCarthy was a finalist to be the next head of greater London’s Metropolitan Police Service.

“I’d fix London’s police the way I sorted Chicago’s,” the ever-brash McCarthy was quoted as saying in an article in The Sun.

Then, there was a report from my colleague Michael Sneed that McCarthy was offered but turned down a chance to serve President Donald Trump as the U.S. marshal here.

And McCarthy has declined to rule out running for mayor against his old boss in 2019.

But until now it seems McCarthy has had to settle for much humbler professional pursuits since he was fired from the CPD in December 2015.


At one point last year, the city’s former top cop found himself laboring on behalf of a controversial River North bar and restaurant that’s had long-running problems with neighbors and authorities.

Richard Simon — the former cop McCarthy has worked with for the past 18 months — said he and McCarthy were hired by Bottled Blonde and came up with a security plan for the business owners.

But they didn’t have the sense to heed the advice, Simon said, causing him and McCarthy to part ways with Bottled Blonde.

“They wouldn’t implement the security plan, so we wouldn’t work for them,” Simon told me Friday.

Simon suggested asking McCarthy for further details. McCarthy didn’t reply to my attempts to contact him.

McCarthy formed a new venture, GFM-Strategies, right after he was fired by Emanuel, and in February 2016, Simon — who has a $110 million janitorial contract at O’Hare Airport — announced that McCarthy would be working with him on “various projects.” But they did not name any clients.

Sources say McCarthy’s work for Bottled Blonde included calling the district commander for River North at the time, George Devereaux. Under McCarthy in April 2015, Devereaux had been promoted from captain to commander for the Near North Side’s 18th District, which includes Bottled Blonde.

Now a deputy chief, Devereaux declined to comment, referring questions to the department’s news affairs staff — who wouldn’t talk about the matter involving their old boss.

RELATED STORY: ‘A lot of fights’ — incidents put spotlight on violence in River North, July 9, 2017

There was a litany of issues with Bottled Blonde then, and things appear to have only gotten worse since McCarthy worked with them.

Last month, after a night out at Bottled Blonde, 34-year-old man Anthony Milder crashed his car on the Ontario Street feeder ramp, killing 21-year-old passenger Alejandra Damian of Joliet.

Milder fled and later was found dead at his home in Bucktown when police arrived to question him about the fiery, high-speed crash. An autopsy ruled he had committed suicide.

Since opening in 2015 in the 500 block of North Wells, Bottled Blonde has generated many complaints about noise, litter and drunken patrons.

It also has been accused of racism for its dress code banning patrons in “excessively baggy” clothing or Jordan gym shoes.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported recently that city investigators reprimanded the business for operating primarily as a bar rather than a restaurant, against the terms of its liquor license.

The Arizona-based owners of Bottled Blonde had agreed last year to a “revised liquor license plan of operation,” also promising to put up more trash cans, keep the sidewalk clean and limit a single-file line outside to 25 people.

But now they stand accused of breaking the agreement, and Bottled Blonde could lose its liquor license.

According to state records, Leslie and Diane Corieri each own 50 percent of Bottled Blonde. Diane Corieri declined to comment on McCarthy’s work for her business or anything else involving Bottled Blonde.

Miriam Waltz, who lives near the club, told the Sun-Times it’s often a wild scene there.

“There’s fighting in the streets,” she said. “People urinating and vomiting in the alley.”

Considering his resume in law enforcement, it seems a lot different than what McCarthy must have envisioned himself dealing with after he left the Emanuel administration.