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. tom says:

    I hope these gifts are reported to the IRS, seems like they have some value to them.

    1. leroyparker says:

      Sounds like it is time we (the 99%) help these 1%’rs realize spring has sprung!

    2. Sara Bellum says:

      Do they get to keep the silver platters??? Read up on the French Revolution, folks. Looks like they will have their pizza and eat it too.

  2. jmweart says:

    Never liked Little Caesars’ pizza to begin with. Now, I will certainly never pay a dime for anything that business has to offer.

    1. stumptater says:

      Agreed on both points.

    2. judith mullen says:


    3. Fred says:

      i never thought Little Ceasars pizza was very good but i sometimes buy them because they are fast and cheap—–NOT ANYMORE! i will go somewhere else or make a sandwich. i will never again spend a dime in Little Ceasars.

      1. Sara Bellum says:

        Personally, I have a Fantastic pizza guy that operates in the back of a Non c
        Chain convenience/gas station out here on the edge of the big city. GLADLY patronize this guy and his family who appear to be a hard working, er…non Anglo Saxon immigrants trying to make a go of the American Dream. I never pay for Chain Food. Not in SoFlo where there is so much great food by from average folks! I say Here Here! to the unknown pizza slingers of American!

    4. Waynamal says:

      Agreed, Little Caesar’s is out

      1. Sharon says:

        I have had my last Little Caesar Pizza now for sure!

        1. Northerngal says:

          I have never had a “Little Casea Pizza” and I never, ever will. Cheap date?

        2. DaveT says:

          Ditto….so long Little Caesar’s for me!

    5. Brassia says:

      I will never buy that Pizza again!

    6. Earl says:

      I avg about 4-6 little ceaser pizzas a month, until today that is. i’ll switch to dominos and feel better about it knowing what i know now.

    7. SAM says:

      You got that right. I won’t eat Little Cesar’s again.

    8. grmc35 says:

      I completely agree. This story makes me sick to read it.

      1. RBIking says:

        little ceasars can shove it. this makes me so mad, i buy the pizzas for our ball team, looks like i’ll be giving papa johns a call this week. i will never buy another of thier pizzas again.

        1. Lew says:

          You got that right! I do the buying for my bowling league, i already called the guys the unanimous response SWITCH. looks like it’ll be dominos from here on out.

          1. weld says:

            thank you CBS for reporting this. no more hot-n- ready’s for me. LC can shove the pizzas up they’re a$$es.

    9. Gabby says:

      amen to that

  3. kenneyraisin says:

    How many pizzas do you think Moochelle had to eat before her ass got that big?

  4. kenneyraisin says:

    Ok, lets have a contest. Can you guess how many Little Caesars pizzas Moochelle had to eat before her ass got that big?

  5. Honest John says:

    And now I know why “Little Caesar” pizzas always left such a bad taster in my mouth! Pandering really tastes foul.

  6. josetoyou says:

    They has better keep an eye on those silver trays…

  7. gthog61 says:

    perfect place for an obama fundraiser – if he’s re-elected the whole country will be like Detroit

    1. limelite001 says:

      Best comment of the day!

  8. steve says:

    little caesars just lost my business for a lifetime. they can shove those pizza’s up ms Ilich’s fat ass !!

  9. bozher says:

    Why is Romney mentioned in this Lefty article? Money is always rotten unless it’s the money Democrats steal from hard working Americans. As long as you don’t work for what you have your aok by lefty socialist standards.

  10. JamesT says:

    Boycott little ceasers. what a joke.

  11. Tyrone says:

    Little Caesar’s pizza STINKS….which means it is an appropriate food item for this equally stench ridden administration……..and the fact Little Caesar’s is still around and has some customers, explains, to some extent, the extremely poor taste of US voters who voted for Odimwit to crook.

    1. judith mullen says:

      Well said!

  12. GlarryB says:

    Thanks does it, Little Caesars is off the list… terrible pizza anyway.

  13. James says:

    I think Little Caeser’s Pizza is the worst pizza chain out there… Never have and especially now will never buy one of their disgusting pizzas.

  14. Steinem Hater says:

    I will never, and I mean never knowingly eat a Little Caesar’s pizza
    from this day forward.

  15. bossou says:

    thanks for the report about Little Caesars’, we wont be going there anymore

  16. michele carlon says:

    No more Ceasars pizza in my House!

  17. ace641 says:

    No more Little Caesar’s for me!!!!!!

  18. rawheadrex says:

    Monday “cheap” pizza evening with one sausage pizza, one cheese pizza, crazy bread and dipping sauce is history in this house. The closest local store was so disorganized and we chose the nearest store,5 miles one way, also disorganized. This revelation means we will make pizza at home.
    The worst pizza I ever ate was in Italy,but that was 50 years ago. My beautiful and blessed wife makes the pizza that eclipses ephemeral ecstasy.

  19. Big Bill says:

    Little Caesars tastes like mildewy underwear on a cardboard box.

    1. Obamanation says:

      I’m frightened that you know what mildewy underwear tastes like.

  20. luxomni says:

    Sorry, L’il Ceasars. If you have that kind of money to spend on His and Her Majesties, or beloved leaders, you don’t need my money for your pizzas. I won’t forget that there are other pizza companies in my neighborhood.

  21. Mark says:

    Over the last few years I have started being selective with where my money goes.
    I find out where the companies put their campaign contributions and avoid the ones like Little Caesars who support those who back people who seek to radically transform this country into the next third world dump.
    In this instance the choice is easy because the product is garbage.

  22. Randy says:

    I am very glad to know this! I will not do anymore business with Little Ceasars and will urge my family and friends to stay away as well. There are plenty of pizza places to choose from i don’t need them.

  23. tom says:

    i am done with LC’s for good.

  24. specfriggintacular says:

    Ditto on no more little ceasars here either!

  25. ilovegolf says:

    My family are regular Little Ceasars customers. We get it most Friday’s because our kids like it. NO MORE—this friday i’ll go somewhere else and spend my money.

  26. Dan Manzi says:

    Little Caesar’s…YECCCHHHHHH! It’s like a piece of cardboard with tomato soup on top slathered with Velveeta. May I reiterate, YECCCHHHHHH!

  27. Barky biter says:

    Big Sleazer’s pizza went down the drain in quality a scant few years after Domino’s went to below dog food quality/taste.
    And now seeing that the billionaire children whom never worked for a living are all so in love with a socialist half wit charleton enough to serve them dog food slop on sterling silver plates just reaffirms to me their total ignorance to the real world and real people. money buys what money buys and it’s all blissful ignorance for those servile jackarses of the left.

  28. SKDISH says:

    This is good to know!!! . . I will most definitely NOT be giving Little Caesar’s my business in the future. I am very glad to pass this information along to friends, family and co-workers!!!!!!!

  29. Richard Jones says:

    Well, I’m happy to know that I shouldn’t be buying any of that brand of Pizza anymore.

  30. Matt says:

    Need I say more. Years of Liberal govt: TTC

  31. Dan says:

    I am done with Little Caesars forever!!!!

  32. Mike says:

    This is funny. It just cost them money. As I was reading this, my daughter came up and asked me to go get her a LC Pizza. So, there goes $10 for sure out of their sales tonight. I bet the franchisees will be scratching their heads Monday morning wondering what happend to their sales.

  33. Dan says:

    With Fielder and this over the top fundraiser, expect the $5 Hot-N-Ready Pizza to go up to $29.95. Hippocrate Liberals…….

  34. Dan says:

    What do you want to bet that the pizza is NOT baked by Little Caesars? (it sucks) The slices would tarnish the sterling silver plates!

  35. Dan says:

    I hear that Nona’s Pizza in Harper Woods just got an order for 310 large pizzas for April 18th. Coincidence?

  36. CommonSenseAmerican says:


  37. Dnghoho says:

    I have decided not to buy this pizza anymore as of reading this article.

    I use to buy it almost biweekly, but now I will not buy it at all.

    Little Caesars WILL feel the impact from this especially when I spread it around about their seemingly socialist agenda.

  38. Sleeppy Top says:

    No more of this Pizza for us, we are a traveling Country Music Band
    and we sometimes cater them for the backstage food, now that I know
    they are traitors to our fine Country the name Little Chavez Pizzas
    will be off the Rider Contracts.

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