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Tag: bobby ferguson

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.

To read more click here.

Former Detroit Mayor Gets 28 Years in Prison for Racketeering Scheme

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison for running a complex racketeering scheme out of city hall.

The sentence is one of the stiffest ever leveled against a corrupt politician.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said she wanted to send a clear message that corruption would not be tolerated.

Kilpatrick extorted bribes from contractors and steered at least $127 million in contracts to his friend and business partner, Bobby Ferguson, who is to be sentenced today.

Kilpatrick said he “really messed up” and was “extremely remorseful.”

The Headache Named Bobby Ferguson: A Pain to Everyone Except Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

Bobby Ferguson pictured above. Art by Lauren Davies for Deadline Detroit.

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — He was Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s good buddy, his confidante, his favorite city contractor.

But Bobby Ferguson managed to turn off many in Kilpatrick’s inner circle.

Contractors and city officials — including Victor Mercado, the head of the water department — complained about Ferguson.

Even Kilpatrick’s sister, Ayanna, found Ferguson a big headache who wouldn’t go away.

“Here we go with the Bobby bull again,” Ayanna texted mayoral insider Derrick Miller, complaining that her brother kept feeding Ferguson city business — at the expense of her the clients she represented.

As the Kwame Kilpatrick trial moved into the New Year, prosecutors this week homed in on Ferguson, a co-defendant, who the feds have portrayed as a bully who illegally conspired with Kilpatrick to rig city construction contracts and extort contractors for a piece of their action.

In turn, the feds allege that Ferguson gave Kilpatrick kickbacks from the demolition and excavation work. Kilpatrick’s father, Bernard, a business consultant, is the other co-defendant in the trial that began in September and is likely to go at least into February.

To read more click here.

Ex-Hip Hop Mayor’s Presence Felt in Buddy’s Detroit Trial

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Ex-Hip hop Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was nowhere to be seen. He wasn’t on trial. He wasn’t in the gallery.

But his presence Tuesday was undeniable. His good buddy, contractor Bobby Ferguson, went on trial in downtown Detroit in a $12-million bid-rigging case involving a low-income housing project and allegations about money laundering and hidden safes flush with cash.

If it weren’t for Kwame, why else would the U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade have bothered to sit in on the opening statements? Why else would it generate intense press interest? Allegations against an ordinary businessman; who would pay that much attention?

Ferguson is no Bernie Madoff. He’s no Jeff Skilling, the CEO of Enron.

But he is FOK (Friend of Kwame), and in this town that’s big. Plus, it reminds us of the very shady, ugly dealings of the Kilpatrick administration and the lengthy FBI probe into city hall corruption.

To read more click here.

Column: Does Race Matter in Jury Selection? Yes, Yes, Yes!

Allan Lengel

 
 
By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit

DETROIT –– Does race matter when it comes to jury selection?

Yes, yes, yes.

I can say so, at least from my first-hand experience as a juror.

But before I go there, let me explain why I bring this up.

Last week, during jury selection in the high-profile federal corruption trial in Detroit of Bobby Ferguson, a pal of ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, the defense filed a motion asking that the judge do the jury selection all over again because there weren’t enough African-Americans on the panel. The judge has yet to rule on the matter and jury selection continued on Monday.

At the same time, a prospective juror told the Detroit News that she thought she was bounced from the jury pool because she was black and her appearance (she had tattoos).

It reminded of me when I served on a jury in D.C. Superior Court in 1999.

I was a reporter at the Washington Post at the time, covering crime. The jury was composed of six blacks and six whites, all residents of D.C.

Top read more click here. 

Feds Pile on Another Charge on Detroit’s Ex-Hip Hop Mayor Kilpatrick

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — The feds in the Motown just keep digging a deeper and deeper hole for Kwame Kilpatrick, the ex-mayor Detroit who was once dubbed the “Hip Hop Mayor.”

The Detroit Free Press reports that Kilpatrick and longtime friend Bobby Ferguson were charged Wednesday in a superseding indictment with extortion involving the shakedown of a towing contractor. Ferguson and Kilpatrick had already been charged with a slew of public corruption charges.

To read more click here. 

Ex-Detroit Mayor Hammered Again: Indicted on Public Corruption Charges with Father and Others

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, already facing an avalanche of legal trouble, was hammered again on Wednesday when a federal grand jury in Detroit  indicted him, his father, a city contractor and former aides on public corruption charges centering on government contracts and kickbacks.

In announcing the 38-count  indictment at a televised afternoon press conference, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Kilpatrick used  “his public office as a corrupt organization.”  Authorities said the probe was ongoing for six-years.

Kilpatrick, 40,  once dubbed the “hip hop mayor”,   is currently in prison, serving time for failing to pay $1 million in restitution after he pleaded in 2008 to obstruction of justice charges for  lying  about an affair with his chief of staff and about the discharge of a police official while  under oath during a whistle-blower lawsuit. The lies were revealed in Kilpatrick’s text messages the Detroit Free Press published.

He was sentenced in May to 18 months to 5 years in prison for violating his probation.

A month later, he was indicted by a federal grand jury on 19 federal counts including mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion and filing a false tax return. He was Detroit mayor from 2002 to 2008.

Others indicted Wednesday  included Kilpatrick’s father Bernard Kilpatrick, city contractor Bobby Ferguson, former top Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller and former water department chief Victor Mercado.

The indictment alleged that the defendants extorted money from municipal contracts and were knee-deep in bribery.

Authorities alleged that city contractor Ferguson kicked back at least $424,000 in cash and other items of value to Mayor Kilpatrick, and that the mayor used more than $590,000 of ill-gotten cash from the conspiracy to pay off credit card bills, buy clothes and pay off loans.

Kilpatrick’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, who had long been under federal investigation, allegedly put $600,000 in cash into his bank accounts and was charged with filing  false tax returns.

U.S. Attorney McQuade, addressing criticisms that her office is piling on charges, said the new charges were far more significant than the ones Kilpatrick has faced in the past two years.  Plus, she said she wanted to send a message to politicians that leaving office doesn’t get you off the hook.