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Breaking News

Protesters, supporters gather in Bolingbrook as fundraiser held for Donald Trump

BOLINGBROOK – At least 100 people have gathered outside the Bolingbrook Golf Club in advance of a private fundraiser scheduled for Wednesday for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Members of several groups, including Suburban Families Against Hate and Fight for $15, were at the club well ahead of the 11:30 a.m. start time for the luncheon. As of just before noon, Trump had not been sighted, although some protesters said that by 12:30 p.m. they had heard he was in the club. People were seen coming out of the clubhouse at 1 p.m.

Protesters and media were in a fenced-off area across from the golf club. A sign on the golf club side says "Closed to the public, private event."

Early on it appeared the majority of protesters were against Trump, although by 10:30 a.m. there were a handful of Trump supporters there and more arrived as the event went on. People were honoring the sign noting it was a private event, but several debates, including about immigration and who had a right to stand where on the grounds, had broken out among the protesters.

Chicago resident Brian Strainis was there waiving an American flag. He came out to support Trump and the police, he said, and noted the demonstrations Wednesday had been peaceful, unlike the "mosh pit" in March when Trump came to Chicago for a rally that was canceled over security concerns after scuffles broke out between Trump supporters and protesters.

“It was a disgrace that goes to show how Chicago is like Chi-Raq," he said.

Jim Bockelmann, of Villa Park, said he came out to support Trump because he finds the candidate honest.

"Let’s give him a chance," he added.

The band "Sousaphones Against Hate" were playing renditions of popular songs, including "Beat It," by Michael Jackson; "The Imperial March" from the "Star Wars" movies; and an "Oompa Loompa" song from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

Many also had signs: One read "Donald Trump is a fraud, he sends jobs abroad" while another said "Shame on Trump, shame on Roger Claar for inviting him."

Claar is mayor of Bolingbrook and is one of the hosts of the luncheon, which had been rescheduled twice. Another host is Chicago businessman Ron Gidwitz, finance chairman for the Trump Victory fund in Illinois. Those attending the event are paying anywhere from $1,000 to $250,000 to attend. Those who paid more are reported to get better seating, a photo opportunity and attendance at a pre-lunch VIP roundtable.

Among the anti-Trumps protesters was Bob Jaskiewicz, who ran in 2015 for a village trustee spot. He said Bolingbrook is a loving community and that “Roger Claar and his board puppets, which are deathly afraid of him, only care about themselves and not the residents."

Will County Board member Jacqueline Traynere, D-Bolingbrook, is encouraging residents to sign a petition and organize the removal of Roger Claar as the mayor.

“For too long people in this community have been asleep and just expect Grandpa Claar to sprinkle some fairy dust over them," she said.

Norman Brown, a member of Suburban Families Against Hate, said the group will hold Claar responsible in the 2017 mayoral election for inviting Trump to a facility paid for by the tax dollars of a diverse community.

The Bolingbrook Golf Club broke ground in 1999 and opened in 2002, according to Herald-News archives. In March of 2002, the Bolingbrook Village Board voted to approve a $72.7 million bond sale to refinance some of the village’s debt, and among other things, build an $18 million clubhouse at the club, according to the newspaper’s archives.

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