Extorted Detroit contractor cursed at Kilpatrick pal


Bobby Ferguson outside federal court

A Detroit businessman allegedly extorted by Bobby Ferguson lashed out at the mayor’s friend following one demand for $600,000 in no-show work.

“I cursed at him,” Detroit contractor Tom Hardiman said.

“He said ‘you’re an idiot,” Hardiman testified.

The testimony came near the end of questioning by prosecutors, who tried to underscore how one businessman paid Ferguson money out of fear his firm would otherwise lose city contracts.

The notion is a central part of the City Hall corruption case against Ferguson and close friend, ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

“During the time Mr. Kilpatrick was in office, did you think you had any choice but to deal with Mr. Ferguson if you wanted to keep contracts with the city?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow asked.

Hardiman, a former executive with Lakeshore Engineering Services, said the firm and co-owner Avinash Rachmale wanted to keep Ferguson happy.

“Mr. Rachmale did not feel comfortable with me saying ‘let Bobby jump off into the river,'” Hardiman testified.

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