Mike Ilitch, the billionaire owner of the Little Caesars pizza chain, the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings and faithful husband to Marian Ilitch, the owner of Motor City Casino (a remarkable coincidence since MLB rules prevent team owners from owning a casino), has made a generous offer to struggling Detroit public school teachers.
The city of Detroit has just emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in United States history only to award the thrifty Ilitch, who commands a net worth of about $5.4 billion, $280 million in public money to help fund the new Red Wings arena and artificial entertainment district. The venue will be called Little Caesars Arena and will be surrounded by the district which will also be tax payer subsidized and controlled by Ilitch.
“Any teacher for the Detroit Public School system who wants to make some extra cash helping build the new Pizza Dome after school or during the summer will be welcome on the construction site” – Tom Wilson, president of Olympia Entertainment
To Ilitch’s credit he and his Olympia Entertainment company have overseen a wide array of visionary businesses besides the Little Caesars brand like American Pizza Cafe (defunct), Second City Detroit (defunct), Motor City Casino (celebrating their 15th year in their temporary location!), Johnny Rockets (defunct), demolishing historic buildings to create a better Detroit skyline view from home plate at Comerica Park and sitting on and neglecting prime downtown Detroit real estate for decades to lower the value and make the restoration of said historic properties nearly impossible freeing them up to be destroyed without a fight from preservationists. Naturally, this makes him uniquely best suited to tackle several new restaurant and bar concepts at one time and for tax payers to assist him in his endeavor.
However, Ilitch doesn’t just take, he also gives. The pizza mogul has seen the plight of teachers in the Detroit Public School district struggling to get decent working conditions and supplies let alone get the pay they’ve earned. So he is offering relief! No, not to give back the $280 million dollars that could go a long way to help the people of Flint, MI with their city-wide lead water contamination or the teachers of Detroit who work with mold and rats for checks that bounce. He is giving them something better than money… opportunity!
“Any teacher for the Detroit Public School system who wants to make some extra cash helping build the new Pizza Dome after school or during the summer will be welcome on the construction site. Just bring some tools and come on down,” Tom Wilson, president of Olympia Entertainment told the Detroit News in a press conference.
Wilson added, “Also, we understand that fans are upset the arena will not feature the high-tech LCD screens depicted in our proposal and our renderings so we are asking Red Wings fans to go to their nearest participating Little Caesars restaurant, pick up a Hot n’ Ready pizza and drop a dollar into our LCD fund jars! If we raise enough of your money we may just deliver what we promised!”
Critics are calling the arena “The $500 Million Bait n’ Switchy.”
UPDATE 5/7/2016: We have “Bait-N-Switch Arena” t-shirts for sale!