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. Viper Militia says:

    Did Little Ceasar’s get an Obamacare waiver? You know one of the waivers I can’t get. Can you say Quid Pro Quo.

    1. S1 says:

      In times like today, Makes you wonder how theses companies and everything can come up with all this money.
      All this excessive spending, while the average Joe has to cut back on everything.

    2. BC says:

      No, they didn’t, which is a curiosity.

  2. steve says:

    only a democrat could find a way to pay 1 million bucks for pizza.

    1. Triple A says:

      They use Other Peoples Money of course. How else do you think they can afford it. OPM is the only kind of money they know how to spend.

  3. mitchenator says:

    I’ll NEVER eat another slice of Ceasers….EVER!!!

    1. Bill says:

      Took the words right out of my mouth. I’ll buy locally and it’ll end up tasting better to boot!

    2. Jeff says:

      Let’s boycott little sleazers. There pizza sucks anyways, but a boycott could be fun.

  4. Barry Levy says:

    What a joke, and obozo, our clown in chief sees no problem with beating up on the rich and then having pizza on silver platters,

    Guess there is something to being the first White black president that make people go silly when they see this man.

    1. whattim says:

      yes, he is great. nice call

  5. Lee says:

    If Ilitch and Scalici are worth “billions” and love Detroit so much, why aren’t they using their cash (gained, I’m sure from billions of pizzas sold) to help rebuild the Detroit infrastructure and city pride??? With thousands of houses standing abandoned and worse, I would think even doing an “extreme makeover” of a couple of strategic city blocks would go a long way toward bringing that once-vibrant city back to life. Or, if Scalici/Ilitch don’t care so much for the construction scene, they certainly could make a hearty contribution to the local police/fire force…I imagine those groups would be ecstatic to receive even a pittance by Ilitch’s & Scalisi’s standards.

    1. Leslie says:

      No, What need to happen is Demolishing several thousand homes. Then plant Urban gardens!. Is that not right up Michelle’s alley?

  6. Bill says:

    I guess I won’t be eating Little Caesars anymore

  7. Njl says:

    I will never eat or allow my children to eat little chislers ever again….I suppose their model is to target people trying to save money due to the economic downturn. With their support of obammy their sales will exponentially increase.

    1. rickrosenberger says:

      Same here. I will tell my friends too
      Little Caesars is supporting the decline of America.
      LC does not deserve our support.
      The left BoyCots…Lets BoyCot LC.

  8. streeekyd says:

    Like GSA like president!

  9. JamesDean says:

    I will no longer eat Little Ceasars pizza….Worst President EVER!

  10. Linda White says:

    I never liked their pizza, now I know why.

  11. Makeem Stop says:

    I had no clue Little Ceasers was owned by such a liberal… unfortunately for them, I always put my money where my mouth is “literally in this case”, so I will never buy another pizza from their company. I’ll drive 5 extra minutes to Pizza Hut or Papa Johns.

    Conservatives can boycott just like the Liberals! Please JOIN ME…

    1. Leslie says:

      Ditto..Had no clue. GOOD PLAN….SPREAD THE WORD!

    2. dugway says:

      To borrow a phrase from O’s campaign: I’M IN!

    3. John Holmes says:

      I with you!

  12. Brain Pizza says:

    I will never buy little sleazers pizza again.

  13. fntsmk says:

    No more Little Caesars for me.

  14. Rosco says:

    I will never again watch a red wing or tiger game in my whole life. I have been a red wing and tiger fan since I was old enough to read and write, this broad is out of her mind. If Mike feels the same way then the hell with him, the wings,and tigers

    1. Leslie says:

      That’s a little to drastic, even for me. You can always listen to the TiG’S on the radio. I was 6 when me and my Grandpa listened on the radio…Hint can get stuff done while your at it!

  15. smartguy says:

    Just like so many blacks who are ***** rich, they will spend everyones money to give a good show. They make me sick.

  16. Norbert G. Ginsel says:

    Our Dear Leader is nothing if not ostentatious.

    Michelle: Why are the people rioting in the streets?

    SS Bodyguard: Mrs; President, because they have no Bread.

    Michelle: No Bread? Why don’t they eat Pizza? It more nutritious, anyway!

  17. Della Reis says:

    I think I have eaten my last Little Ceasars pizza.

  18. Pat Hockman says:

    I’m glad to find out, this will keep me from buying pizza from Little Ceasars. Ilike Dominos & Pizza Hut better anyway.

  19. Brent says:

    Hmmmm, I don’t think ‘Ilitch’ is an Irish name……which would explain everything……and yet ‘they’ still support this blatantly disgusting POS….fitting!

  20. freecheese says:

    I wonder if anybody from ‘da hood will be there ?

  21. pennypincherpersonalfinance says:

    Pizza Pizza!
    Birth cert Birth cert!

  22. Mark Rice says:

    My days as a Tigers and Red Wings fan just ended. I had no idea the Ilitch’s were that political. What a disappointment.

  23. dugway says:

    10,000 buys dinner – here’s hoping that the Michigan Revenue folks are handy to get their sales tax cut – just as the tax man here gets his ‘slice’ when I buy pizza.

  24. Jan says:

    It’s amazing how many people still buy into the myth spread by Democrats and their media allies that Democrats are the party of the “common man”. How many “common” men are able to afford these big dollars, fancy fundraisers that Obama attends? It seems Democrats are the party of the rich as well as the filthy rich.

    Maybe it’s time for these Democrats to walk their talk, and spread their own wealth around a lot more. After all, do these pizza moguls really “need” all those millions or billions of dollars? Shouldn’t they be able to live on $250,000 per year, and still be “rich”?

  25. tos says:

    Just called and left Little Caesar’s a message stating that I will no longer buy their pizza. Please flood them with calls re: same.

  26. Bob G says:

    No more Little Ceasars will touch my lips. I got tired of hockey, so not watching the Red Wings is no big loss for me. The Tigers are a different story.

  27. GEORGE says:

    SHAME!! Two generations removed from 500 years under the TYRRENY of
    the Ottowman Turks. Countless relitives killed by Muslims. Same as Communism.
    Denise Illitch has lost her way. Supporting a President who is daily trying to remove
    our Constitutional guarantees. Money and the quest for political power ??
    Remember your family history Denise. Obama will take us back to Southeastern
    Europe of the past. Read and Undersrtand.

  28. kate says:

    Thanks for the info. I now know which pizza businesses to avoid.

  29. Morgana says:

    Let them eat pizza!

  30. Chris says:

    I never liked little Caesar’s Pizza, but now I know to avoid that pizza like the plague. Corporate lobbyist dirt-bags…

  31. tateofpa says:

    Yep just like the common people of the the motor city, the same people who keep electing dems to run their rotting city for decades. After they have this fundraiser they are going to plow under that block of the city.

  32. GeoBuck says:

    America’s only hope is to boot this WHITE AFRICAN out of office in November. Otherwise, we are toast, if we are not already.

  33. Tai Pan says:

    I’ll never purchase another Domino’s pizza. Boycott them. Everyone.

    1. tateofpa says:

      Little Caesars’

  34. Scott S says:

    So our Little Caesar is going to a Little Caesar’s Pizza Party. How appropriate!

    1. Leslie says:

      Ha Ha Ha HA HAAAA!!! FUNNY

    2. Cas47 says:

      Lol! He probably thinks they named the company after him.

  35. Tai Pan says:

    Sorry meant Little Caesar’s….

  36. Denise says:

    When I read articles like this, it just makes my stomach turn. Well, never again (even tho I haven’t had one in 20 years) will I honor an Illitch activity or product.

  37. Absolute says:

    Roberts is one of the most arrogant pricks anyone would ever have to work with. He is a little Napoleonic that is not near as smart as he would like you to believe. A very unlikeable guy.

    1. Leslie says:

      Really? Who knew? Do you actually know this man? Please explain.

  38. Tangent To What says:

    Thanks for the heads up. No little marxist’s pizza for me.

  39. Leslie says:

    Absolute, Did you work for GM? Or do you still?

  40. jasonbird says:

    Why the hell are ticket prices for red wings games so expensive when Illitch’s have so much money? Steal from Michiganders so they can live in luxury. Oh, I know, donate stuff all the time and invest in Detroit and buy your friends!! No more Little caesars for me..

  41. Tim says:

    Hurry, hurry presidency for sale.

  42. jasonbird says:

    Isn’t Denise Illitch one of the 1% Obama hates??????

  43. Nathan says:

    LC is one of my favorite pizza brands but no more for my family. Bummer

  44. fred flynt says:

    No more Little Caesars for me.

  45. dell says:

    Someone should start a facebook page to boycott Little Cesar’s.

  46. Jerry says:

    Their pizza sucks!!! Now I can see why!!!

    1. Dianna says:

      Just like anyone that supports this hypocrit!!

  47. Dianna says:

    I wouldn’t eat a Little Ceasar’s pizza if it was all there was left to eat in the world..

  48. Jamie.Gunn says:

    I am boycvotting LC for sure

    1. gerona michaels says:

      no more LC for me

    2. JackofNoTrades says:

      You ate it in the first place? That stuff is disgusting.

    3. lilzzie warren says:

      Isn’t pizza on “moochelle’s” no-no list???

    4. biglouie15 says:

      My thoughts exactly. I’ll never buy another one again.

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