Bobby Ferguson threatened a city employee who questioned whether his firm was double dipping on a $7 million city deal.
LaJuan Wilks testified about her concern that executives at Ferguson’s company Xcel Construction were billing the city for working 80 hours a week at two construction sites.
“It appeared they were double-dipping for their time,” Wilks said. “They couldn’t be in two places at one time.”
Wilks raised her concerns to city officials. Soon after, she was called into a meeting at Cadillac Square Building with her boss and Ferguson, the mayor’s close friend.
The meeting was tense as Wilks and Ferguson talked about her concerns, Wilks said.
“At some point, we both began to holler,” said Wilks, the city’s construction project coordinator.
Wilks’ boss sat quietly while the two argued.
“At one point, (Ferguson) goes ‘the only reason you still have this job is because you’re black,” Wilks said.
“What did you do?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Doeh asked.
“I looked at my boss and said ‘this is how you let contractors come in and run things now?’” Wilks said.
“What do you mean?” the prosecutor asked.
“Typically, contractors are not allowed to berate or disrespect us,” she said. “It just doesn’t happen. I felt attacked. My job was threatened.”
“Why did you feel your job was threatened?” Doeh asked.
“I felt that Mr. Ferguson did have a connection to the mayor,” Wilks said. “Because of how my boss behaved, I felt that he was incapable of protecting me.
“Because of how my boss behaved, I read that he must have a connection with the mayor that goes even beyond my boss’ control.”