Witness: Shady Detroit water deal soaks taxpayers

Behind-the-scenes wrangling that led to a contractor losing a 2006 water deal cost taxpayers more money when the job later went to a team that included ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s pal Bobby Ferguson, according to testimony.

Darryl Latimer

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow probed the deal while questioning water department Deputy Director Darryl Latimer. The questions revolved around a deal prosecutors allege Kilpatrick helped steer to his close friend.

A firm called Superior ranked highest until city officials changed the scoring method in spring 2006.

Afterward, a team including Ferguson won the job even though Superior’s bid was $1 million less.

“Who pays the added price if the contractor charges more?” Chutkow asked Latimer.

“Basically, ratepayers,” Latimer said.

That means almost half of the residents in southeast Michigan who are get drinking water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

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