Ferguson to rival: 'Screw him'

Bobby Ferguson

Bobby Ferguson

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.

Former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

Former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

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.

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