Kilpatrick lawyer probes witness flip-flop

Kwame Kilpatrick and his father Bernard Kilpatrick walk toward the Gateway Deli for lunch during an afternoon break Sept. 18.

A businessman allegedly extorted by Kwame Kilpatrick and his pal Bobby Ferguson told federal agents and a grand jury a different story two years ago.

Avinash Rachmale testified two weeks ago that he hired Kilpatrick’s father Bernard in hopes of salvaging $15 million worth of water department deals.

Bernard Kilpatrick was paid $2,500 for one meeting at the political maestro’s Detroit apartment. Bernard Kilpatrick urged the businessman’s partner to reach out to Bobby Ferguson, according to earlier testimony.

But Monday, Bernard Kilpatrick’s lawyer confronted Rachmale with a transcript of a December 2010 grand jury appearance that contradicted the earlier testimony.

In 2010, Rachmale said a friend, Perry Mehta, referred his partner to Ferguson.

Rachmale also told federal agents in November 2010 that Mehta referred him to Ferguson.

“You didn’t mention Bernard Kilpatrick to the case agents,” Bernard Kilpatrick lawyer John Shea said.

“Let me clarify,” Rachmale said Monday. “This happened in 2002/2003, so we’re looking at almost eight or nine years ago.”

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