Foul-mouthed Kilpatrick mulled steering deal to son-in-law

Bernard Kilpatrick

Bernard Kilpatrick

The FBI intercepted phone calls in early 2008 allegedly showing Bernard Kilpatrick scheming with his girlfriend to strip a $1.2 billion sludge contract from a company and give it to his son-in-law.

Kilpatrick and girlfriend Akunna Olumba were overheard talking about the sludge contract with Synagro Technologies Inc. Kilpatrick was upset about not receiving money from Synagro executive James Rosendall, according to testimony.

Daniel Ferguson

Daniel Ferguson

During one call, Kilpatrick and Olumba discussed giving the contract to a sham minority firm headed by Kilpatrick’s son-in-law, Daniel Ferguson, according to testimony.

Bernard Kilpatrick was upset about not getting money from the Synagro businessman and threatened to have his son, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, kill the deal, according to testimony.

“This s— is so, so, so screwy,” Bernard Kilpatrick said during the phone call on Jan. 31, 2008. “I am so close to going to my man and telling him to kill it.”

Kilpatrick’s girlfriend suggested rebidding the contract, awarding it to a firm called Waste Management and saying sayonara to Synagro, according to the wiretapped conversation.

“We don’t want to see y’all no more, thanks,” Olumba said.

Olumba suggested Kilpatrick could pocket $20,000 a month if the sludge deal went to another company.

“Boom,” Olumba told Kilpatrick.

During the conversation, Kilpatrick said Rosendall had “f—– up”

“I’m so close to saying f— them,” Kilpatrick said.

Tony Soave

Tony Soave

Kilpatrick allegedly told Rosendall he would blow up the sludge deal unless he received money.

“I think I scared him,” Kilpatrick said during the January 2008 phone call.

Kilpatrick and his girlfriend talked about giving a piece of the deal to a trucking company and Daniel Ferguson.

“You be the minority on the deal — 40 percent or something,” Kilpatrick told his girlfriend.

Olumba suggested the contract also could be awarded to Grosse Pointe Farms tycoon Tony Soave.

Soave testified earlier, saying he was extorted by Kwame Kilpatrick.

Soave sold his garbage-hauling company for $750 million to Waste Management, the firm Olumba suggested could receive the Synagro contract.

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