Kwame Kilpatrick, hoping to capitalize on the money flowing through the Detroit Building Authority and valuable contracts, stocked the board with friends and family, according to testimony.
Star witness Derrick Miller said the mayor tapped his cousin Ayanna Benson to oversee the department and appointed his mistress Christine Beatty and high school friend Miller to the board.
The board furthered Kilpatrick’s focus on steering work to his pal and co-defendant in the corruption trial, contractor Bobby Ferguson, Miller testified.
“(Kilpatrick) understood the power and authority of the Building Authority and the thought was that’s something the mayor would want to have a tight rein on,” Miller said Tuesday.
One project allegedly steered to Ferguson was a $7 million deal to build the Heilmann Recreation Center, according to testimony.
Kilpatrick took the same approach to the city’s Downtown Development Authority and the renovation of the Book Cadillac hotel downtown.
“(Kilpatrick) saw it as a significant project for the administration and sort of a flagship and he wanted to make sure Bobby Ferguson participated,” Miller said.