Bill Clinton making a book tour pit stop Saturday to help Shalala pay campaign debt

In South Florida this weekend on a book tour with author James Patterson, former President Bill Clinton will take a brief detour to Miami Beach to help Donna Shalala recoup all that money she lent her winning congressional campaign.

Clinton is slated to appear during a small, intimate gathering with Shalala on Saturday at the Miami Beach home of Abigail Pollak, the widow of former TracFone CEO F.J. Pollak. Carlos de la Cruz, Sr., Michael Fresco and Ricardo Tabet are co-chairing the fundraiser. Cynthia Leesfield and Jane and Robert Toll are the reception hosts.

Clinton will visit Pollak’s house for a few hours at most. He and Patterson are scheduled to appear at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts at 8 p.m. to discuss their novel, “The President is Missing.” Under federal law, the Donna Shalala Victory Fund — the account to which checks are being made — must pay a pro-rated portion of any public expenses related to Clinton’s visit to Miami Beach.

Over the course of her eight-month bid to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Shalala loaned her campaign $745,000. The money helped her stave off a crowded and competitive field in the Democratic primary, and beat formidable Republican opponent Maria Elvira-Salazar in the general election by 6 points.

As of mid-October, Shalala’s campaign had repaid her $250,000, leaving $495,000 in debt from her self-loans. Her net worth, according to her federal financial disclosure, is between $4.6 million and $13.5 million.

McClatchy reporter Alex Daugherty contributed to this report.