Bobby Ferguson had a blunt response when a rival firm complained about being pressured to give his firm a piece of a city contract.
“Screw him,” former Kwame Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller testified Tuesday.
The exchange followed Lakeshore Engineering’s attempt to enlist the aid of Kilpatrick’s mother, then-U.S. Rep. Carlita Cheeks Kilpatrick.
Lakeshore executive Thomas Hardiman, a family friend, had sought out her help after learning a $10 million sewer lining contract tentatively awarded to Lakeshore had been held up.
Hardiman testified earlier that the contract was held up after Lakeshore offered Ferguson a 10 percent cut of the contract. Ferguson had asked for 25 percent.
When Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow asked Miller how Ferguson responded, he began to smile, a departure from his typically straight-faced appearance.
“Basically he just said, “screw him,” Miller said.
He said the then told former Detroit water boss Victor Mercado, formerly a co-defendant in the case until he pleaded guilty in November, to hold up the Lakeshore contract at Kilpatrick’s request.
Mercado, who complained that Ferguson was “aggressive,” responded: “OK, Miller said.