'Extorted' contractor denies tapping pal for inside info on Detroit deals

A businessman allegedly extorted by Kwame Kilpatrick denied trading on his friendship with a city employee to obtain Detroit contracts.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow asked Avinash Rachmale the point blank question following a defense grilling about his cozy ties with city official Dilip Patel.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow

Defense lawyers suggested Rachmale traded on that friendship — a la Bobby Ferguson and Kilpatrick –in a bid to undercut his testimony on behalf of the government.

“Did you ever ask Mr. Patel for inside information about the price of a competitor’s bids on contracts?” Chutkow asked.

“No,” Rachmale said.

“Did you ever use your relationship with Mr. Patel to get payments from other companies for no work?” the prosecutor asked.

“No,” Rachmale said.

“Did you ever use your friendship with Mr. Patel to threaten to shut down other contractors’ projects if they didn’t pay you?” Chutkow asked.

“No,” Rachmale said.

Robert Snell

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