Protesters to rally against Dan Gilbert over Trump fundraiser in downtown Detroit

Photo by Steve Neavling.
Photo by Steve Neavling.

Billionaire Dan Gilbert, a prolific donor to Republican candidates, is catching plenty of heat for a Donald Trump fundraiser Friday that was held in a downtown Detroit building owned by the Quicken Loans owner.

At 11:30 a.m. on Monday, a rally is planned at Campus Martius in downtown Detroit to show opposition to Gilbert’s decision to facilitate an event for Trump in a city where polls show the Republican candidate is polling at 0%.

“The fact that a person of Gilbert’s stature in Detroit can openly support a racist who is being shunned by his own party for his extremism is unacceptable,” read a press release from community activists Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann and Elena Herrada. “It is an insult to all Detroiters. We must respond.”

The big-ticket fundraiser was held at the Gilbert-owned Chrysler House, and Trump was escorted through a freight entrance at the Gilbert-owned Federal Reserve bank building.

Gilbert, who has refused to answer media questions about the event, donated $1.25 million to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s super political action committee and $350,000 to PACs tied to Ohio Gov. John Kasich during the presidential primaries.

Protesters are urged to bring handmade signs, pitchforks and anything else to express opposition to Gilbert, who has made much of his fortune on controversial mortgages that have contributed to the abandonment of many Detroit neighborhoods.

“A candidate who is openly supported by the KKK should not be able to come to Detroit and be welcomed by one of Detroit’s elite without a strong and immediate response from the community,” organizers said in a press release.

Among those who attended the fundraiser were Peter Karmanos, Attorney General Bill Schuette, former Michigan GOP Chairwoman Betsy DeVos and Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.

People of good will must respond to this danger. We are on the precipice of fascism,” the rally organizers said.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.