Kilpatrick stalled $50M deal until businessman hired Ferguson

Bobby Ferguson and Kwame Kilpatrick outside federal court.

Kwame Kilpatrick held up a $50 million sewer deal in 2002 because contractor Tony Soave hadn’t hired Bobby Ferguson, the mayor’s close pal.

Soave, who allegedly was extorted by the mayor, testified about a meeting he had at the mayor’s office in April 2002 after his firm’s contract had stalled.

Soave was anxious for his firm Inland Waters to start work on the sewer deal. He was told to go see Kilpatrick.

“I asked him what the holdup was on the job,” Soave testified. “I was anxious and had people waiting to go to work. It was a big important thing. It was a large contract for us.”

“What did he tell you?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked.

“He told me I had the wrong subcontractor,” Soave said. “I asked him what the right one was. He told me Ferguson was the right one.

Charlie Williams

“I told him OK, I’ll make the change.”

Prosecutors showed jurors an entry from Kilpatrick’s mayoral calendar showing he met with Soave on April 23, 2002.

Soave said he dumped his other minority subcontractor, Charlie Williams and hired Ferguson.

Williams is chairman of a Soave-related firm MPS Group.

Williams is a board member of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport authority who voted to appoint Turkia Mullin as its CEO after making $420,000 weeks earlier from a land sale she helped engineer, records obtained by The Detroit News show.

Soave said he was upset having to dump Williams.

So he paid Williams $200,000.

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