'Extorted' businesswoman lashes out at Ferguson lawyer

Bobby Ferguson

A businesswoman whose firm allegedly was forced to hire Bobby Ferguson on a $50 million sewer deal defended her earlier testimony that dealing with the mayor’s pal was unpleasant.

Kathleen McCann was being cross-examined about her claims Ferguson demanded a $1.5 million piece the deal, made threats and took credit for Inland Waters receiving the sewer deal and getting the city to approve change orders that padded the contract’s value.

“You were used to minority contractors who were compliant, correct?” Ferguson lawyer Susan Van Dusen asked.

“That’s an unfair characterization,” McCann said. “We hadn’t experienced that kind of push back from any subcontractor before. The types of things being pushed back on were not reasonable.”

“In your opinion,” Van Dusen said. “Your world is not Mr. Ferguson’s world and you learned that.”

“Clearly,” McCann said.

McCann described a difficult relationship with Ferguson after Kwame Kilpatrick allegedly forced Inland to hire his pal.

In a fiery speech on the witness stand, McCann said Ferguson was unwilling to negotiate.

“He could have been trying to intentionally cripple the company by not doing work and then having the contract taken away so he could have his way,” McCann said. “The difficulty getting contracts signed were of his own making. The reason he wasn’t at the table is he didn’t want to be.”

Robert Snell

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