WASHINGTON--Cook County Circuit Court Judge Neil Cohen officiated at the Saturday wedding of the daughter of White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, attended by President Barack Obama, Michelle and their daughters.
In a ceremony at the home where Jarrett spent much of her youth--a block north of the Obama home on South Greenwood---Laura Jarrett married Tony Balkissoon before family and friends.
The two met while at Harvard Law School and the graduates of HLS '10 now practice at rival Chicago law firms, Balkisson at Sidley Austin and Jarrett at Mayer Brown.
Cohen sits in the Chancery Division at the Daley Center and is the husband of Jarrett friend and confidante Susan Sher, who is the former chief of staff for the First Lady. Cohen also is close to Jarrett's parents: her late father Dr. James Bowman, who died last year, and her mother, Dr. Barbara Bowman
Sher left the White House last year and is now the Executive Vice President for Corporate Strategy and Public Affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Many of the attendees at the wedding--as does Jarrett and the Obama family--have ties to the U of C.
The wedding festivities took place in the house and in a tent in the large yard. City of Chicago records show Dr. Bowman received a permit to erect the tent for the wedding.
Among those present:
Newton and Jo Minow: Minow is a senior counsel at Sidley. When Obama was at
Harvard Law School, Minow recommended that Sidley hire him for a summer job in Chicago. Obama took the job and met his future wife, Michelle, at the firm. Minow's daughter, Martha, is the Harvard Law School dean.
John Levi: Levi is the Sidley partner who actually hired Obama--and before him, one Michelle Robinson. Obama tapped Levi to be the Chairman of the Legal Services Corporation. Obama also appointed Martha Minow to the Legal Services board.
Martin Nesbitt: He is a close personal friend of Jarrett and the Obamas' and lives a few blocks away. Lesser known is that he is the treasurer of the Obama for America campaign committee. His wife, Dr. Anita Blanchard is also one of Mrs. Obama's closest friends; she delivered the Obama daughters. She is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics/Gynecology at the U of C Medical School--where Dr. James Bowman was the professor emeritus in the departments of Pathology and Medicine.
Eric and Cheryl Whitaker: The couple are close to Jarrett and the First Couple. Whitaker and Nesbitt are also frequent golfing companions of the president. On Sunday, the men were playing at the Beverly Country Club at 87th and Western. Whitaker is the Executive Vice President for Strategic Affiliations and Associate Dean for Community-Based Research at the U of C Medical Center.
Vernon and Ann Jordan: While Jordan has a high national profile - a Washington insider's insider--the connection with Jarrett is through Ann, a cousin. Ann Dibble Jordan is a former Chicagoan with long-time connections to the University of Chicago, where she is a trustee emeritus.
John Rogers and his daughter, Victoria: Rogers, the founder of Ariel Investments, grew up with Jarrett on South Greenwood. Years later, by chance, Rogers recruited one Craig Robinson to play basketball at Princeton. Robinson is Mrs. Obama's brother. Rogers is a major Obama fund-raiser. His former wife--Victoria's mother--is Desiree Rogers, a former White House Social Secretary whose departure strained the relationship with Jarrett and Mrs. Obama.
Roxanne Ward: A friend who is a former executive at at Ariel.
Paula Wolff and Wayne Whalen: Wolff--who has a long civic resume--Mayor Rahm Emanuel tapped her to head the City Colleges Board in February--and Whalen--a partner at Skadden Arps--are longtime Jarrett neighbors, living on the same block on South Greenwood.
Antoinette Cook Bush: a Jarrett cousin who is a partner at Skadden.
Attorney General Eric Holder and Sharon Malone: While Holder gets most of the attention, lesser known is that his wife, an ob-gyn, is also a close friend to Jarrett and Mrs. Obama.
Allison and Susan Davis: Obama joined Davis' law firm out of Harvard Law School. The couple live in Kenwood.
Dan and Fay Hartog Levin: Jarrett was a one-time top staffer for former Mayor Richard M. Daley. When she left City Hall, she landed at The Habitat Company, founded by Dan Levin. She became Habitat president in 2007. Obama tapped Mrs. Levin to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, a position she resigned last year.