Kilpatrick ordered underling to hamstring pal's rival

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

Kwame Kilpatrick ordered an underling to hamstring a water department contractor, who later lost a deal that was awarded to a team involving his pal Bobby Ferguson, according to testimony.

City official Kim Harris provided the most dramatic bit of testimony this week in the City Hall corruption case against Kilpatrick, Ferguson and the mayor’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick.

He also shed more light on behind-the-scenes manipulations allegedly involving Kilpatrick that cost a firm a lucrative water department deal.

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.

Superior ranked higher than a team involving Ferguson.

Gerard Grant Phillips

Kilpatrick and his water boss Victor Mercado had questions about whether DLZ’s headquarters were based outside Detroit.

Harris told Mercado no and that the city’s law department had signed off on DLZ’s qualifications.

In May 2006, Harris had an unexpected visit from his boss, Gerard Grant Phillips.

Phillips headed the human rights department and was appointed by Kilpatrick.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta

Phillips told Harris to strip DLZ’s status as a Detroit-headquartered business. The move would lower DLZ’s score in the bidding process and knock the firm out of first place.

Harris pushed back.

“What was his response?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked.

“He said the mayor wants it done,” Harris said.

“Did this cause you some concern?” Bullotta asked.

“Yes,” Harris said.

“Why?” Bullotta asked.

“I felt that the contracting process was being tampered with,” Harris said.

Harris drafted a letter decertifying DLZ.

His boss signed it.

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

Phillips won’t be testifying.

He died last year.

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