LINCOLN DAY DINNER
Lots of rumors and gossip from the Oakland County Republican Party event featuring former President Donald Trump held on Sunday, June 25, at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. For starters, the county party announced weeks ahead of time that the event was sold out, with an estimated attendance of about 2,400 people who mostly paid $250 per ticket. One party insider said that it was unclear how much money the Oakland GOP walked away with, considering the cost of putting on this event, including a rumored $250,000 that went to Trump for being the major speaker. That figure was called a lowball estimate by another person in the know, who attributed the ‘get’ of the former president to Mark Zarkin, owner of Steve Lelli’s on the Green in Farmington Hills. The night before the Sunday dinner Lelli’s was the site of a fundraiser. “He’s not a Democrat and he’s not a Republican, but he’s in love with Trump. He raised a lot of the money to get him to come because he knows a lot of the people with money who are his customers,” said this politically connected source. We were also told that Commerce-based former state Rep. Ryan Berman actually called out Zarkin at the event for getting Trump to appear. We also hear – completely unconfirmed – that beleaguered state GOP chair Kristina Karamo had the state organization’s credit card initially rejected when she tried to pay for a table at the event. And to add even more insult, one party regular tells us that Trump repeatedly mispronounced the state party chair’s name when he droned on. Lastly, one informed detractor noted: “It’s very interesting that the Oakland County Republicans named Trump Man of the Decade, because Trump’s why Michigan went Blue. He lost Michigan by 150,000 votes, of which over 100,000 of those votes were from Oakland County. Was he the Democrat Man of the Decade or the Republican Man of the Decade?” That did not seem to deter Oakland County Republican Party chair Vance Patrick who raised a number of eyebrows when from the event podium he endorsed Trump and told dinner attendees that they should all vote for the ex-prez, despite what we are told are county party rules that say officials should not get involved in contested primaries unless the county party executive committee votes to back a candidate, which it has not.