CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Former president Bill Clinton’s entourage arrived at Bruce Zoldan’s home around 7:45 p.m. First was a white stretch limousine, followed by an Ohio State Highway patrolman, and then Clinton, sitting in the back passenger side seat with his reading glasses on and his head down.
Clinton’s black Chevy Tahoe drove directly through the gate of Zoldan’s Canfield compound, where a minimum $500 a ticket fundraiser awaited him.
Zoldan is the President and CEO of B.J. Alan Company, and the event held at his home was to raise money for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The private event was invitation only, but it was not cheap. The top ticket at the fundraiser was $27,000 and ensured a meet-and-greet with Bill Clinton.
The event promised to be star-studded, with invites out to Mary Wilson of the Supremes and former Cleveland Browns player Jim Brown, among other notables.
Among the early arrivals was former boxing champ Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and his wife, Tina.
“I’m excited. Like I said, I’ve never been to one of these things, and I’m very happy to meet and I’m looking forward to meeting the president,” Ray Mancini said, adding that he would later be joined by actor Ed O’Neill, a Youngstown native known best for his roles in the sitcoms “Married with Children” and “Modern Family.”
Each car that arrived was stopped at the gate by a sheriff’s deputy before they could gain entrance.
Among those that WKBN saw arriving were Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gaines, Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel, State Sen. Joe Schiavoni and Congressman Tim Ryan.
“This kind of section of the state really has to deliver one way or the other, and Democrats have to win really, really big here. And so, we get a good deal of attention, as we all know, and hopefully this will be the beginning of a good campaign,” Ryan said.
Bill Clinton was in the Valley in 2008 for Hillary’s first presidential bid. He paid another visit in 2010 to support Ted Strickland as he was running for re-election. Friday was Clinton’s third visit to Zoldan’s house.
“Listen, we mingle with them, and I get to talk to them, and I get to him and Bruce gets to tell him and other Valley leaders get to tell the president what’s important to us and what we need and what help Hillary can be,” said attorney and Mahoning County Democratic Party Chair Dave Betras, who attended the event.
The invitation list was short, but Betras believes that there will be a much more public gathering, which will include Hillary.
“Hillary will be here. I promise everyone, Hillary will be here and we’ll do a public event,” Betras said. “Ohio is not in play yet, but very soon we will be.”