Kilpatrick intervened in Detroit water deal later given to pal

Bobby Ferguson and Kwame Kilpatrick outside federal court.

City officials yanked a company’s certification giving preferential treatment to firms based in Detroit after Kwame Kilpatrick allegedly questioned a deal in which the business scored higher than his pal Bobby Ferguson’s company.

Water department official Darryl Latimer testified about the behind-the-scenes dealings that helped Ferguson win a contract replacing water mains in 2006.

The dealings revolved around a bidding process in 2006. A company called Superior ranked highest and partnered with a firm called DLZ, which received credit for having its headquarters in Detroit.

Latimer, however, said the firm’s headquarters were in Ohio.

On May 4, 2006, Latimer was ordered to meet with Kilpatrick.

During the meeting, Kilpatrick brought up DLZ, Latimer testified.

Latimer told Kilpatrick DLZ’s headquarters was in Ohio.

The next day, Latimer was ordered to launch an investigation that ended with DLZ losing points awarded to Detroit-headquartered companies.

The move boosted Ferguson’s firm into first place, letting Kilpatrick’s close friend win the contract, Latimer testified.

At the same time, prosecutors allege Kilpatrick and former Detroit water boss Victor Mercado rigged a $15 million contract so DLZ would lose and another firm, Lakeshore Engineering Services would win. That’s because Lakeshore had agreed to partner with Ferguson, according to the indictment.

Change orders later boosted the value of the contract. Afterward, Ferguson and Kilpatrick allegedly extorted Lakeshore and a related firm A&H Contractors, according to the indictment.

In all, Ferguson and his companies received more than $12.9 million from the water main project.

A year after the water contract dealings, the city inexplicably restored DLZ’s certification given to companies with Detroit-based headquarters, Latimer said.

Robert Snell

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