Texts: Ferguson, Kilpatrick hatched plan to 'move in' on sink hole repair work

As crews scrambled to fix a massive sink hold caused by the collapse of a huge sewer line in Sterling Heights, Bobby Ferguson and former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick were apparently scheming to get work for Ferguson on the project.

Text messages and phone records indicate the pair were talking about how Ferguson’s company could get a cut of the work, which was overseen by Inland Waters Pollution Control.

At one point, Ferguson texted Kilpatrick about a plan: “We need to (meet) on how I move in, I got a great idea sir.”

Prosecutors allege that Inland and a subcontractor ultimately agreed to pay Ferguson $350,000, even though his company did no work. His company was paid $3.1 million for other work on the project, U.S. EPA special agent Carol Paszkiewicz said.

Although the indictment against Kilpatrick and Ferguson contained a few of the text messages, others shown in court Wednesday reveal that Kilpatrick was asking about the plan and meeting with Victor Mercado, then director of the sewer department.

Other evidence showed that Ferguson and Mercado were also in contact.

Inland officials, including former executive Kathleen McCann, were apparently nervous that payment on the repairs was being delayed. In September 2004, a source for Inland, Bernard Parker III, told them he had met with Kilpatrick “during the weekend and amendment is held up until FEI is satisfied.”

It wasn’t until the next March that Inland and a subcontractor agreed to pay Ferguson, prosecutors allege.

Mike Wilkinson

Mike has been a reporter at The Detroit News since 2006.