Kilpatrick marching orders: Get Ferguson city deals

Bobby Ferguson outside federal court.

Bobby Ferguson outside federal court.

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick ordered his underlings to steer city deals to his contractor pal Bobby Ferguson, according to testimony Monday.

Star witness Derrick Miller said the mayor made clear they were supposed to prioritize giving work to Ferguson, who owned a Detroit construction company.

“We were supposed to help Bobby,” Miller said.

That testimony addresses a key allegation in the City Hall corruption case. Kilpatrick is accused of steering work to his pal and extorting money from contractors. Prosecutors allege Ferguson got $60 million in city-related business because of the mayor — sometimes for doing no work at all — and shared the money with Kilpatrick.

Kwame Kilpatrick left gestures to passers by as he and Ferguson leave federal court Aug. 8.

Kwame Kilpatrick left gestures to passers by as he and Ferguson leave federal court Aug. 8.

“How was this expressed?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow asked.

“I was told,” Miller said.

“By whom?” Chutkow asked.

“Mayor Kilpatrick,” Miller said. “We were looking out for Bobby at every opportunity.”

Ferguson grew into a powerful role in the Kilpatrick administration and had his own photo ID badge granting access to the mayor’s heavily guarded City Hall office, Miller said.

“I believe Bobby wielded more influence as the administration went on, more so than me,” Miller said.

The mayor, his father, Bernard, Miller and Ferguson would meet privately outside City Hall to discuss ways to steer work to the contractor, Miller said.

The group also would discuss projects involving clients of Bernard Kilpatrick’s consulting firm, Miller said.

The meetings happened at Bernard Kilpatrick’s condo in Detroit — which was foreclosed in 2009 — and at the Manoogian Mansion, according to testimony and prosecutors.

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