Kilpatrick steered Book Cadillac work to pal, feds say

Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson.

Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson.

The worlds of Kwame Kilpatrick and the Detroit Red Wings collided Tuesday at the City Hall corruption trial.

Testimony focused on a Red Wings game on March 31, 2003, that plays a pivotal role in Kilpatrick’s alleged attempts to steer work to pal Bobby Ferguson at the Book Cadillac hotel.

Prosecutors showed jurors text messages about the game Tuesday as the feds neared the end of their case against the former Detroit mayor, his father and Ferguson. A series of text messages portrayed Kilpatrick scheming behind the scenes to steer lucrative city deals to Ferguson.

In March 2003, the Red Wings were hosting the Nashville Predators. Kwame Kilpatrick had tickets for a suite and was meeting with the construction manager overseeing the $200 million restoration of the Book Cadillac hotel.

Prosecutors alleged that Kilpatrick tried to get Ferguson demolition work worth several million dollars at the Book Cadillac in 2003 and 2004.

At the Wings game, Kilpatrick met with officials from Alberici Constructors, which was managing construction at the hotel.

Kilpatrick brought Ferguson into the suite and introduced him to one of the executives, according to prosecutors.

Ferguson was his friend, Kilpatrick said, and would be “good” for the project, according to prosecutors.

From the indictment:

The Construction Management Firm representative believed that KWAME KILPATRICK was pressuring his firm to hire FERGUSON or risk adverse consequences to the Construction Management Firm’s future business prospects in the City.

Ferguson was later awarded a demolition contract at the hotel.

In May 2004, someone stole equipment from Ferguson’s workers at the hotel site. The theft drew police and news crews to the downtown landmark hotel.

“I am famous now,” Ferguson texted the mayor. “Just need to get some money.”

“Lol! right,” Kilpatrick replied. “Let’s get you some.”

Ferguson corrected his powerful pal.

“Us,” Ferguson texted.

Christine Beatty

Christine Beatty

In all, Ferguson’s company received almost $9.2 million in revenue while working on the hotel project.

In April 2003, Kilpatrick and his mistress Christine Beatty exchanged texts about a deal to build a new police headquarters.

Beatty was surprised Ferguson wasn’t getting the job.

“Why not Bobby in this?” Beatty texted the mayor.

“Bobby wanted to strategically lose a major bid,” Kilpatrick wrote. “He will be on this one at bid time.”

In another series of texts, Ferguson and Kilpatrick discussed a housing project in October 2002.

Ferguson complained about city housing officials.

“Those guys in housing are stupid than a f—,” Ferguson texted the mayor.

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