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Ronald Ilitch released on $5,000 personal bond in cocaine possession case

George Hunter and Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — Ronald Ilitch, the son of well-known businessman and sports team owner Mike Ilitch,was arraigned Thursday on a cocaine possession chargeafter being arrested on the city’s west side Wednesday.

Ilitch, 57, has been charged with one count of possession of less than 25 grams of a controlled substance (cocaine), which carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison.

Ilitch appeared by video before 36th District Court Magistrate Charles W. Anderson Thursday afternoon. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

Officers from the 8th Precinct about 3:40 p.m. Wednesday saw a woman get into Ilitch’s Corvette, which had tinted windows, in the area of Six Mile and Grand River near a local hotel. Tinted windows are illegal in Michigan, allowing officers to stop the car.

Ilitch was then taken to the Detroit Detention Center on Mound Road. The woman was released by police at the scene.

Defense attorney Joshua Nucian said his client, a resident of Oakland County, was not a flight risk and requested a personal bond.

Anderson set Illitch’s personal bond at $5,000. He returns to court for a pre-exam hearing on Sept. 4 and a preliminary exam on Sept. 9.

After the arraignment, defense attorney Layne Sakwa offered no comment other than to ask the media to respect the family’s privacy.

Wednesday’s arrest isn’t Ilitch’s first run-in with the law.

In 2006, he was arraigned in Oakland Circuit Court on two counts of domestic violence related assault and battery after his live-in girlfriend said he beat her in their Troy home. The disposition of that case was unclear.

Mike Ilitch, the founder of Little Caesar’s Pizza, also owns the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings. The family’s business holdings include an interest in the MotorCity Casino and the Fox Theatre.

Another of Ilitch’s sons, Michael, Jr., has also had several run-ins with the law, including a 1997 drug arrest in Florida. Ronald Ilitch in 1999 alleged that Michael Jr. stole his 1995 Red Wing championship ring and a gold team watch, which he pawned to buy drugs.