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Friend of Ex-Detroit Mayor Gets 21 Years

Bobby Ferguson at sentencing/Deadline Detroit sketch by Jerry Lemenu

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Painting him as a bully, extortionist and violent criminal who hid assets, a Detroit federal judge on Friday sentenced Bobby Ferguson, the city contractor and good buddy of ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, to 21 years.

“Bobby Ferguson was the catalyst at the center of an historic and unprecedented criminal scheme,” said U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds.

“Mr. Ferguson was bold and outspoken in his extortion activities,” she said.

Edmunds said Ferguson strong-armed companies to get city contracts, some in which he did no work for. He threatened to kill contracts with the help of Kilpatrick if people didn’t give him a cut of the action.

Along with sentencing, the government asked that Ferguson forfeit $6,284,000 in cash and some property.

The sentencing fell short of the 28 years Kilpatrick received Thursday. Kilpatrick was convicted of 24 counts compared to Ferguson’s 9. Kilpatrick’s status as an elected official influenced his sentence.

Ferguson sat looking at a bible, and sometimes turned to his attorneys and talking while Edmunds was building up to announcing the sentence.

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