Detroiter stunned by notion pistol-whipping Kilpatrick pal could be bullied

Bobby Ferguson and Kwame Kilpatrick outside federal court.

A key government witness appeared stunned Wednesday by the notion that convicted felon and pistol-whipping demolition contractor Bobby Ferguson could be bullied out of a water department deal.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow posed the question to Detroit businessman Tom Hardiman, whose firms allegedly were extorted out of almost $13 million by Ferguson and his friend, ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

“Do I think Bobby Ferguson can be bullied?” Hardiman said. “I can’t picture Mr. Ferguson being bullied.”

The question came near the end of Hardiman’s four-day stint on the witness stand.

Chutkow asked the businessman about Ferguson allegedly being squeezed out of a $20 million sewer deal in 2005 involving Lakeshore.

Ferguson was convicted in 2005 of pistol whipping a former employee.

Ferguson assaulted Kennedy Thomas after accusing him of calling his wife late at night.

Thomas testified he suffers from seizures and dizziness and must walk with a cane as a result of the assault.

Thomas won a $2.6 million jury verdict against Ferguson in 2007. A judge later reduced the amount of the judgment against Ferguson and his company to just over $860,000.

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