Detroit businessman's memory fleeting in Kilpatrick case

Detroit businessman Tom Hardiman remembers allegedly being extorted by contractor Bobby Ferguson. Beyond that, not much.

Hardiman is stringing together a long list of “I don’t remember” and I “don’t recall” answers to questions from Ferguson’s lawyer Wednesday during the City Hall corruption trial.

The back-and-forth between Hardiman and Ferguson lawyer Gerald Evelyn served as an entertaining battle during the sixth week of testimony.

Hardiman didn’t remember his salary or the value of stock in Lakeshore Engineering Services — a firm allegedly extorted by Ferguson. He didn’t recall being sued by a company.

When he could recall details, he refused to agree with Evelyn.

Lakeshore is based in this building along Woodward in Detroit. The firm leased office space at one time to Kwame Kilpatrick’s campaign.

At one point, Evelyn showed the businessman a 2009 letter written to the city complaining about low scores awarded to Lakeshore during a bidding process.

By late 2009, Hardiman had left Lakeshore. Yet, he signed the letter as chairman of Lakeshore’s umbrella company.

“Why would you sign it, that’s a pretty big misrepresentation?” Evelyn asked.

“I would not agree,” Hardiman said.

Hardiman said he didn’t write the letter. He merely signed it.

“Explain who made the mistake,” Evelyn said.

“You would have to ask the person that probably put the letter together,” Hardiman said.

“Who?” the lawyer asked.

“I’m not sure,” Hardiman said.

Hardiman suggested he was asked to sign the letter because he was black and a well-known name in Detroit political circles.

“I was the African American face of Lakeshore,” Hardiman said.

Evelyn grilled the businessman about his financial package.

“How much were you paid for your interest in Lakeshore?” the lawyer asked.

Hardiman wasn’t sure.

“Could you hazard a guess?” Evelyn asked.

“Nope,” Hardiman said.

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