Contractor kept diary following Ferguson threats

Bobby Ferguson

A businesswoman at a firm allegedly strong-armed by Kwame Kilpatrick kept a diary detailing interactions she had with the mayor’s close friend, Bobby Ferguson and the contractor’s alleged threats.

Former Soave Enterprises executive Kathleen McCann said she kept the diary and urged co-workers to do likewise after Ferguson demanded a $1.5 million piece of a $50 million sewer deal in 2002.

Earlier testimony alleged Kilpatrick forced a Soave-related firm Inland Waters to dump its minority contractor and hire Ferguson.

McCann said Ferguson made threats and took credit for Inland receiving the sewer deal and getting the city to approve change orders that padded the contract’s value.

Amid the alleged threats, McCann started keeping a diary.

“We had some sense we would be telling the story and I thought it was important to have documentation,” McCann said.

McCann described an unpleasant working relationship with Ferguson.

In August 2004, a Water department official ordered Ferguson to stop working on the sewer project.

Ferguson’s work had fallen behind and was deficient, McCann said.

“We had to work with him in order to get that caught up,” she said. “And there were a number of circumstances in which billings were inappropriate — either they were in error or too high — and that needed to be corrected.”

Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson outside federal court.

In all, Ferguson’s firm received $24.7 million in work on the sewer deal, according to prosecutors.

McCann was concerned Ferguson could hurt Soave’s ability to land and keep city deals if he was unhappy.

“We felt like we had a sword dangling over our heads,” McCann said.

After Kwame Kilpatrick won re-election, Ferguson aired a list of complaints, McCann said.

She documented the gripes in her diary.

“He felt he had been disrespected, not given appropriate credit for getting Inland its work,” she said. “He acted as if he had full power to keep Inland getting work or not getting work. It was going to be his decision whether he went forward with us.”

Robert Snell
Robert Snell is the Detroit News federal courts reporter. He can be reached at rsnell@detnews.com or (313) 222-2028.