Kilpatrick, pal tried throwing reporter off their trail

Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson.

Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson.

Kwame Kilpatrick tried to hide his friendship with pal Bobby Ferguson from The Detroit News in 2003 and 2004, when prosecutors allege the mayor was steering lucrative city work to the contractor.

The News’ reporter Darci McConnell was asking about Kilpatrick and Ferguson, who had a $9 million contract to work on the taxpayer-funded Book Cadillac Hotel restoration project.

In July 2003, Ferguson sent Kilpatrick a text message, according to prosecutors.

Former Detroit News reporter Darci McConnell

Former Detroit News reporter Darci McConnell

“Darci just call me,” Ferguson wrote.

“Don’t call her back,” Kilpatrick texted.

“Damn, I already did,” Ferguson wrote. “You know I never call them back but I knew what she wanted and played dumb.”

“OK,” Kilpatrick wrote. “You should not have said s—.”

“OK, I really didn’t say s— that meant anything,” Ferguson texted.

McConnell was still asking questions in March 2004.

“Hey, Darci is asking me are we friends and do we travel together and do we talk on the phone,” Ferguson wrote in a text to the mayor.

“Don’t confirm none of that,” Kilpatrick wrote. “I am someone you support. You think I am doing a great job for the city.”

“Hell no,” Ferguson wrote. “I just told her we were friends, she know that.”

“LOL!” the mayor replied. “Tell Darci I used to be her friend.”

Kilpatrick’s communications director Dave Manney appeared pleased by the attempt to mislead McConnell.

“Sounds like Bobby handled Darci very well,” Manney texted the mayor. “Frankly, it sounded like he kicked the s— out of her!”

Other text messages revealed the depth of their friendship.

They traveled to the Super Bowl together in January 2003.

Text messages revealed Kilpatrick tapped Ferguson for $1,600 worth of tickets to the Super Bowl.

Ferguson told the mayor to open the safe in his hotel room.

Jerome Bettis

Jerome Bettis

“There’s $7,500,” Ferguson wrote in one text.

Kilpatrick’s mistress Christine Beatty was on the trip, too.

“Do you want to go with the mayor to Jerome Bettis’ cookout?” Beatty texted Ferguson, referring to the former NFL running back from Detroit.

“When and what time, yes,” Ferguson replied.

“Now,” Beatty wrote. “The mayor said bring the loot.”

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