'Extorted' Detroit firm won $158M in city deals

A Detroit firm allegedly extorted by ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson received city water contracts totaling almost $158 million.

Ferguson lawyer Gerald Evelyn presented the total to Lakeshore executive Tom Hardiman, who repeatedly complained about allegedly losing $15 million worth of city deals after refusing to give Ferguson a 25 percent share.

Evelyn countered the allegation by showing Lakeshore received contracts worth far more than the $15 million.

“That looks pretty good, right?” Evelyn asked Hardiman after showing him the grand total.

“That’s pretty good,” Hardiman said.

Evelyn also countered earlier testimony that Hardiman delivered $25,000 cash to Ferguson in September 2005.

Hardiman previously said he gave the money to Ferguson to keeping the mayor’s close friend happy.

Hardiman said Ferguson demanded $25,000 in September 2005 and wanted it hand-delivered that night.

Hardiman scrambled to collect the money.

Ferguson was smiling when Hardiman arrived with the cash.

“He was stunned you brought cash, he thought you would bring a check, right?” Evelyn asked.

“He was startled,” Hardiman said.

“Nothing further,” Evelyn said.

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