CEO Pays $1M for Front-Row DC Gala for Disadvantaged
Wounded soldiers, poor, ill will be invited, catered to during 'People's Inauguration'
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Dec 4, 2008 2:11 PM CST
The Marriott, blocks from the White House on Pennsylvania Ave., offers a spectacular balcony view of the inauguration parade.   (Marriott)
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(Newser) – The fairy godmother of inauguration balls is Earl Stafford, a Virginia businessman who plans to host disadvantaged Americans at “The People’s Inauguration.” The devout Baptist paid $1 million for a build-your-own-ball opportunity at a hotel along the Washington parade rout, and promises to spend more to offer a “cross-section” of distressed Americans lodging, festivities, and a primo view, he tells the Post.

Stafford, who runs a weapons-simulation company, says he’ll hire a beautician and tuxedos if needed for guests which he says will include wounded veterans, the terminally ill and others going through tough times. Inspired by his faith, the Obama supporter says he “wanted to bless those who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to be part of the great celebration.”