Texts reveal Kilpatrick, pal talked about $10M Detroit deal

Bobby Ferguson and Kwame Kilpatrick outside federal court.

Kwame Kilpatrick’s text message shown to jurors Thursday revealed he and pal Bobby Ferguson discussed a firm’s $10 million water department deal months before the city yanked it and gave the job to Ferguson’s team.

Texts from April 2003 indicate Ferguson and Kilpatrick discussed the contract, which has has been the focus of testimony spanning several days in the Kilpatrick City Hall corruption trial.

Lakeshore Engineering Services businessman Avinash Rachmale said his firm lost the $10 million deal because he refused to give 25 percent of the job to Ferguson.

“Can you think of any reason the mayor would be discussing water department contracts with subcontractors?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow asked Water department Deputy Director Darryl Latimer.

Former Detroit water boss Victor Mercado plead guilty to a corruption-related charge recently. (Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News)

“No,” Latimer said.

Former water boss Victor Mercado scrapped the Lakeshore deal, arguing it would save the city money.

Chutkow attacked that claim Thursday.

The prosecutors showed Latimer documents that indicate the work later was awarded to a team that included Ferguson for $10 million.

“The same price as Lakeshore’s?” Chutkow asked.

“Yes,” Latimer said.

Kilpatrick’s lawyer said the mayor’s text was benign. In the exchange, Ferguson discusses Lakeshore’s prices.

Kilpatrick replies with one word: “Cool.”

“Do you have the ability to understand in what context cool is?” lawyer James C. Thomas asked Latimer.

“No,” Latimer said.

“You’re a pretty smart guy, but you are not clairvoyant, are you?” Thomas asked.

“No, Latimer said, chuckling.

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