Kilpatrick ordered underling to steer work to Ferguson

Kwame Kilpatrick, left, and Bobby Ferguson, outside federal court.

Kwame Kilpatrick, left, and Bobby Ferguson, outside federal court.

Kwame Kilpatrick ordered an underling to call a water department contractor in early 2002 and get pal Bobby Ferguson a piece of a $50 million city deal, according to testimony.

Soave

Soave

Former Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller said he was directed to call contractor Inland Waters and try to get Ferguson added as a subcontractor on the deal, according to testimony. Inland was owned by Grosse Pointe Farms tycoon Tony Soave.

“What did (Kilpatrick) ask you to say to Inland Waters?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow asked Miller.

“To talk to them about getting participation for Mr. Ferguson,” Miller said.

The testimony backed up allegations earlier in the trial from Soave and his executive Kathleen McCann.

They testified about the water deal, which stalled until Kilpatrick allegedly told Soave to dump his minority subcontractor and hire Ferguson.

Miller also confirmed he met with McCann in Mackinac Island in 2002 and asked her whether the firm had agreed to hire Ferguson.

McCann testified last month that she felt intimidated and that Inland Waters was pressured into a “forced marriage” with Ferguson. On Tuesday, Miller agreed.

“She was very curt,” Miller said, “she seemed a little agitated.”

Inland later hired Ferguson.

Last month, McCann said Ferguson was “troubling,” demanded a 3 percent profit and would have been dumped if he wasn’t tight with the mayor.

The “marriage” was so toxic McCann said she and colleagues documented threats and pressure from Ferguson in a diary, figuring some day “we would be telling the story.”

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