By Carol Cain
CBS 62

UPDATE 4/12: Denise Ilitch Clarifies Pizza Party “Joke” 

President Barack Obama is coming to the Motor City for a $1 million pizza party being thrown for him compliments of Denise Ilitch, daughter of Little Caesars’ founders Mike and Marian Ilitch. Ilitch is opening her home April 18 for the fundraiser where movers and shakers are being asked to pony up thousands to add to his re-election coffer while getting a chance to rub shoulders with the most powerful man on the planet.

“I’m honored to have been asked by the Obama campaign to host,” Ilitch said of the event she and husband, Jim Scalici, will hold at their Metro Detroit home. She made the comments on “Michigan Matters” when asked about media reports. Watch the full episode.

When asked what she planned to serve, she said, laughing: “Pizza! But, we’ll be serving it on sterling silver plates!”

The event isn’t tied to Little Caesars headquarters in any way, nor does it mean the family is endorsing the president. It’s strictly a private affair.

And the price of admission isn’t for those on a budget. $40,000 buys access to the cocktail reception, formal photo with Obama and dinner. $10,000 buys dinner and a photo.

The event is the latest twist in the political relationship between Obama and Ilitch, eldest of the Ilitch’s seven children. Mike and Marian also own the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Fox Theatre, Motor City Casino and more. The family is among the wealthiest and most influential in Michigan with an empire worth billions.

Obama Detroit Rally Denise Ilitch 2008

(credit: Denise Ilitch Designs)

Denise Ilitch, a Democrat, is a busy mom of three who is also co-publisher of Ambassador Magazine, runs a jewelry design business and is chairwoman of the University of Michigan regents. When the Illinois senator came to Detroit in 2008 while running for president, Ilitch was among those who greeted him and gave Obama, his wife, Michelle, and Joe Biden their own NHL Championship Detroit Red Wings Jerseys inscribed with their names. She got applause when she said she’d get Obama another jersey for the White House after he won.

Ilitch, who won as a regent at UM in 2008, toyed with the idea of running for governor in 2010. Obama invited her to the White House to discuss the notion which she did. But Ilitch decided the timing wasn’t right.

One person who won’t pass up the chance to attend Obama’s party is Roy Roberts. He’s one of the most successful black executives in the nation who left a comfortable retirement after working at General Motors and other firms to take over as emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools when asked by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. “Obama’s done a great job,” said Roberts, who appeared with Ilitch and Charlie Beckham, chairman of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, on “Michigan Matters.” “Do you know how much it means to be able to go into a classroom and see thousands of kids (of color) and tell them they can be anything they want to be – including being president of the United States!” Roberts said.

Metro Detroit’s known for many things like autos, Motown and being home to some major league pizza chains. Besides Little Caesars, there’s Domino’s Pizza, Hungry Howie’s, Jet’s Pizza and Shield’s Restaurant, Bar and Pizza, just to mention a few. With the presidential race heating up and Michigan native son Mitt Romney, son of the late Gov. George Romney, looking like the GOP nominee, one wonders if Romney knows any pizza chain owners who might want to hold a pizza party for him too. In this billion dollar presidential contest, every dollar helps.

Ilitch, meanwhile, is busy with dinner preparations, which will also include some other entrees, but took a second to add a final thought about her dinner guest and her family baseball team. “I want to present Obama with a Detroit Tigers’ World Championship jersey after he wins re-election,” she said of the Tigers’ and Obama’s chances of winning their contests that will conclude this fall.

Carol Cain is the Emmy winning Senior Producer and Host of “Michigan Matters” airing 11:30 am Sundays on CBS 62. She writes about business and politics in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. You can reach her at

Comments (391)
  1. DA says:

    Well, it looks like the President will be leaving the city with a boat load of cash. Any chance he could send some back. Oh, I thought he was opposed to the one percent crowd.

    1. Sandra says:

      Hey, its not like those who will be attending, or who can afford to attend, would have contributed that same money to change in Detroit, or they already would have.
      Detroit has more problems than money alone can solve, when you have abandoned buildings leaking millions of gallons of water over the course of years (read “leaking money”), and no one in the city administration did anything about it, until local TV got up in their faces. And that is no one’s fault but Detroit’s. When I saw that, last year, I was afraid Detroit had reached its “tipping point.” I hope that has changed.

      1. biglouie15 says:

        Where better than Detroit to have such a display of rich vs. poor. Detroit is rotting from decades of democratic rule and corrupt unions. I want to hear the speech that o-blame-a is going to make about soaking the fat cats. All he has to do then is look around the room and in a mirror.

  2. Tom Walter says:

    Guess I won’t be ordering any Little Caesars anymore.

    1. Michael Bingham says:

      amen to that, but they probably serve mostly degenerates who would vote for Obama anyway so does it really matter?

    2. Pete says:

      Tom, why were you ordering Little Caesar’s in the first place? It’s terrible pizza.

      1. natb1 says:

        It is truely the worse Pizza by far.
        I prefer a slice of wonder bread topped with a slice of American Cheese and Ketchup. At least you can taste something of a tomato.

      2. bob says:

        i oedered little caesars pizza and ended up eating the box it tasted better.

        1. JakeD says:

          Hope you put some Chili Peppers on it at least……

    3. Bill says:

      Neither will our home. Businesses that want to support political parties should understand that their consumers can and will also vote with their feet. NO MORE CEASARS, EVER1

    4. Glen Whitten says:

      Me Too .Dr Glen Whiten

  3. jan says:

    dopes for change

  4. snapper says:

    Never again Little Caesar’s – and isn’t Detroit supposedly in financial straits?

    1. LadyS says:

      Yeh, the owner of Little Ceasar’s should be putting that money in the rebuild of Detroit instead of that idiot they put in office. Just more corruption.

      1. Yeah says:

        They should be using their pizza as manhole covers. Save the city money and put them to their proper use.

  5. AnyonebutObama says:

    It is all so very fitting; Detroit is the model example of what the rest of the country will look like in the future Obama is crafting. 50 years of Democratic leadership and Detroit is what you get.

  6. Mike says:

    No pizza, no Tigers, no Wings for me. I’m done…

  7. Ron 8200 says:

    Obama has been good for Little Caesar’s, people can’t afford to eat at better places.

  8. Charybdis says:

    I’m not surprised that the owner of Little Caesar’s would support Obama. I’m sure business has picked up quite a bit over the past few years, as Obama’s economic policies have forced those who would eat out at places like The Olive Garden once a month must now settle for a $5 pizza.

    1. David Francis says:

      Denise is the daughter of Mike and Marion Illitch. She is a democrat, but I am not sure what the parents political affiliation is. They are quiet about that. Denise was kicked out of the daily operations of the organization by her brother I think. I hope it was because she is a lib.

  9. bye George says:

    Does this diet plan meet Michelle’s get everyone leaner program…

    1. dugway says:

      Yes. It is an “Emperor’s Clothes” Pizza, modeled after Obama’s record.

      There is really nothing there, just don’t tell anyone.

  10. cgent47 says:

    Obamas new election slogan: Class Warfare and Envy

  11. Mister E says:

    The 1%’er President, which is true since he is a millionaire, going to get more bags of cash from other 1%’ers so he can continue fighting for those people.

    How many non-1%’ers can afford a 10,000 plate dinner just to say hi to the President (you know, the guy that serves We, The People), or 40k to get the full access?

    Hell, if this guy really serves the people, should we all have access to him, not just those who pay for it.

    This guy was bought a long time ago, and the only way to get rid of him is to vote for someone who will take corruption like his and toss it into the dustbin of history.

    And that’s me.

    1. jefe says:

      spot on comment ..

    2. jmiller says:

      A rich White Black man running as if he were a poor Black Black man, and yet the idiot Black Back people can’t figure it out.

      Wow! Good by U.S.A.

    3. JakeD says:

      Just goes to show you that people need a GOD.. and Obamaites God is Government Redistribution… Gimme mo food stamps!!!!

  12. dane says:

    I am done with Little Caesars for good, stupid demoncrats!

  13. Jim says:

    Now I have another reason to root against the Red Wings!

  14. JS says:

    The best thing about this story was the dominos add on the page as I was reading it.

  15. All knowing says:

    No more little ceasers anymore, thanks for the info

  16. Seattle Jim says:

    How can anybody – especially the owner of a sports franchise – think that Obama has done a good job as president? If the Wings and Tigers were run same the way Obama has run this country then the Illitch clan would fired him asap!

  17. joe says:

    occupy little caesars’ and Denise Ilitch home, obama sure loves the 1%er money

  18. T Rich says:

    Nobama’s presidency has been about as good as Little Caesar’s pizza. You know the punchline..

  19. dane says:

    Now it all makes sense why the Detroit teams stink, owned by a stupid demoncrat!

  20. Joe E in the IE says:

    May I have my cake now, Mademoiselle Antoinette?

  21. natb1 says:

    What did a few Trillion dollars buy for us?
    The new “Normals”:
    > $250,000 per tax paying household of national debt.
    Real unemployment >10%
    1 in 7 on foodstamps
    1 in 4 homes underwater
    college grad employment 57% (down from 90% 06/07)
    > $4.00/gal gas
    A RECORD of almost 1/2 all African American men out of work.
    And my “middle class” taxes DID go up, in several areas!

  22. Flip says:

    Little Caesar’s food and Barack Obama = Extreme nausea

  23. Steve says:

    This is clearly a fake article. Only Republicans are members of the 1%

    1. gobnait says:

      Yeah! How dare this reporter go against the Democratic Party line?

  24. liz cobble says:


  25. Smac says:

    Detroit and New Orleans are the model of failure. Demon-rats have been in charge of those cities for years and they have FAILED. If we don’t get him out we will be the worst country in the world. What kind of idiot would pay 10k for pizza that is not worth 10 cents and the company of one of the BIGGEST liars ever to walk the face of the earth. He is the anti-christ.

  26. Leslie says:

    Not good for Little Ceasars Pizza letting people know where there PROFITS go.
    I may have to drive about a half mile further but I will be supporting DOMINOS pizza in the future. Let the PIZZA WARS BEGIN! I hope this gets going nation wide. Dems spent thier money on other STUFF. Pizza twice a month will not be going to support Little Ceasars. Thank you for the information.

  27. C Booth says:

    Little Ceasers pizza pizza sucks sucks. And his sons played hockey like little girls at that one percenter school, Cranbrook. Many times they came off the ice in tears because of a check in to the boards. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they were closet buttpirates (not that there is anything wrong with that).

    One Percenters for Obama!!!!!!!

    1. jmiller says:

      …But I know something about you
      You went to Cranbrook
      Thats a private school
      What’s the matter dog?
      You embarrassed?
      This guy’s a gangster?
      His real names’ Obama’

  28. rober says:

    I live in TX and used to go to Little Caesars twice a month or so….NO MORE. My kids might be upset but I’ll explain it to them someday.

  29. YoMomma says:

    Greasy, nasty pizza. Greasy, nasty POTUS. How fitting.

  30. poto63 says:

    $5 pizza on silver plates for a base fee of $10,000 including a picture with the prez. I wonder if they’ll balance it out by having the professional photographer use disposable cameras and send them to Wally world for developing.

  31. Bubba Johnson says:

    It would be too easy to put the millions that these fools will be dropping in Il Dulce’s pockets into Detroit’s coffers, wouldn’t it. Well I guess they just don’t like regular black folks, just the 1%ers. Hypocrites!

  32. BertErnie says:

    Little Caesar’s Pizza? I thought they were out of business. Worst pizza I ever tasted.

  33. Aerojack7 says:

    I will not be buying their pizzas for my kids parties for ANY time in the foreseeable future. Why do business with a company that supports poverty and government dependence?

  34. Frank says:

    Thanks, Denise. Now along with memories of horrid college pizza I have yet another reason to never spend a dime on Little Ceasar’s slop.

  35. StarvingMoTownchildren says:

    People in Detroit are starving deciding whether to feed their kids or buy gas for their cars and Little Caesar is having a $1,000,000 party for Obama…I’d rather eat rat poison than Little Caesar

  36. charlie says:


  37. Saul says:

    There are enough unionized gov’t employees and urban welfare parasites now to provide a permanent voting majority for Democrats promising handouts.

    Death of the Republic

  38. NoMarxist says:

    Two faces of Barrack Obama.. Supporting the 99% OWS movement ad does his entire party and their media wing known as the mainstream media, while raking in millions from the rich 1%. It’s all smoke & mirrors with Obama.. Count me in on the lifetime ban of Little Ceasar’s crowd.

  39. Hiawatha says:

    Me to, all that junk food tisk tisk Michele will be after you….. to bring carry out home!.

    1. Leslie says:

      I meant to say TOUCHE’ to Hiawatha! Your funny! I like it. Touche’ again, you made me laugh out loud. Hard to do.

  40. Leslie says:

    Saul !


  41. Mark Cask says:

    Now on the banned foods list: Little Caesar’s Pizza.

  42. R says:

    Well I guess no Little Caesar pizza for me. Support you local independent pizza joiint

  43. Viper Militia says:

    Wonder why Detroit community leaders send their money to Washington DC rather than invest in Detroit? I suppose they feel Michele probably could use the money. The people of Detroit should be furious that millions will go to Washington DC instead of Detroit.

  44. malice420dotcom says:

    Ask the Detroit people that get parking tickets if they agree with this party.

  45. BobJones says:

    I’d rather eat a cheese covered pizza box than Little Ceasar’s pizza. They are one in the same.

  46. Hiawatha says:

    Commie’s Just Say NO!

    This Guy is the worst most leader in generations.
    The Black community is getting lower and lower in social scale, the country is overrun by non tax payers working in the black economy and food stamps are everybodies right including family members of his all on the public dime.
    But it’s still all Bushes Fault, excuse after excuse, it’s a;ways the other guy who dunnit because he wont agree to do your Marxist bidding, a bad tempered lousy public speaker he should have stayed with Acorn, which should renamed a stone in the shoe of American and the true patriots not sneaky back door socialista!
    History will judge this Guy as the man who broke America, and us as the clowns that elected him.

      1. wikileafs says:

        Hey calling all sane people. Obama is only spending an extra 8 billion a day no problem.

        Why dont’t we start boycotting Little Caesers and get a nationaly trend going. The left wanted to boycott Rush. Let’s put this cardboard pizza business out of business!

        1. Ann Gitzinger says:

          I like that idea! I won’t be buying Little Caesars’ until Mr. Obama is out of office.

      2. Dianna says:

        So..she’s still an idiot to support this moron.

    1. Mminnie says:

      Have we seen the whites of the eyes tey?

    2. Bill Kilgore says:

      Illitch, by the way, is the guy who took his worthless downtown Detroit property, donated it to the City of Detroit to build a two(!) stadiums on, then after the property blew up in value to the tune or $42 million, claimed that to be it’s original value and demanded tax payers pony up matching funds. That, my friend, is how you take worthless property, turn it into $42 million, and get to claim that $42 million against your income tax for a whopping deduction. Yeah, this family is just great!

      B. Kilgore

    3. bob pancake says:

      Little Cesar’s Pizza Sucks anyways

      1. Smokey the Bear says:

        they would have to pay ME $40,000 to have my picture taken with that dictator pig.

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