'Extorted' contractor backs off Kilpatrick claim

Bobby Ferguson

Prominent Grosse Pointe Farms businessman Tony Soave admitted Thursday he did not personally know whether ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick had any involvement in holding up a $50 million sewer deal.

Soave made the concession during cross-examination as contractor Bobby Ferguson’s lawyer, Michael Rataj, tried countering allegations Kilpatrick steered work to his pal.

A day earlier, Soave testified about a meeting he had with Kilpatrick in April 2002 following delays in a city deal with his firm, Inland Waters.

The meeting ended with Soave dumping his minority contractor and hiring Ferguson, the mayor’s close friend.

“You had no personal knowledge that Mr. Kilpatrick had anything to do with holding up the contract,” Rataj said.

“I don’t know,” Soave said.

“You don’t know, right,” Rataj said. “And anything you heard…was from your people.”

Soave agreed.

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