Local 4 is inside the courtroom for the federal corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Kilpatrick's dad Bernard Kilpatrick and his childhood friend Bobby Ferguson. Each day we bring you information from inside federal court as it happens.
Lots of commotion Tuesday at the courthouse. Big Kwame Kilpatrick related story is that he accepted $2,000 from Chicago pastor Corey Brooks as a Christmas gift and never declared it to the Department of Corrections. He was caught on a Walmart camera counting out the funds.
Brooks and Kilpatrick were were busy on twitter attempting some damage control. Last night Kwame tweeted Brooks:
"Sending a big THANK YOU to Pastor @CoreyBBrooks and The New Beginnings Church Family in Chicago. Carlita & I are humbled by your generosity."
@wfmatix Absolutely Good Brother! Thank you so much for the shout and support. Much love to you and your family.
Other tweets between the pair:
When @fox32news showed up, I thought we were going to talk about our 2 members that were murdered, but they asked me about a Christmas Gift.
@CoreyBBrooks Sorry that u had to deal w/the tremendous invasion of your privacy. Please continue to fight the good fight for our children!
Otherwise this morning, we will be continuing with the testimony of former Kwame Kilpatrick BFF Derrick "Zeke" Miller. Hopefully it will have a little more dramatic oomph than yesterday's.
9:10AM Long sidebar this morning before the jurors are called in. Plenty to talk about this morning.
9:15AM Jury is in and US Attorney Mark Chutkow explaining a check exhibit to the jurors. It was a check from Jon Rutherford's DPR Management company to Next Generation Detroit for $34,000. The Next Generation Detroit PAC in question is not affiliated to Kilpatrick so the exhibit has been withdrawn.
"Zeke" Miller back on the stand. Talking about Glenn Blanton who replaced Lou Pavledes as director of Cobo Hall. Miller told by Kilpatrick to let Blanton go because he "was compromised" and potentially wiring a wire for the feds. Miller says he had his own concerns that Blanton was wearing a wire because he was acting a little odd.
Miller met with Blanton in his office to let him go. Next as director of Cobo was Tom Tuskey.
Miller says when Kilpatrick took office he understood the power of the Detroit Building Authority (DBA) and it was something he wanted a tight rein over given the high contractual volume generated from there.
Miller says that ultimately Kilpatrick decided he wanted Ayanna Benson, a relative, as head of the DBA. He appointed her there as his person at the DBA.
Chairman of the DBA Board of Directors was Christine Beatty- a move strongly advocated by Kilpatrick. Miller was also on the board as well as Sean Werdlow and others.
Miller says that contracts relative to Bobby Ferguson were a priority from the DBA. Miller talked to Kilpatrick and Beatty about it. But never talked to Ayanna Benson about steering contracts Ferguson's way.
There was a project management contract, elevator reconstruction, building a new restaurant facility- all DBA contracts that went to Ferguson.
Talking about the Downtown Development Authority- extension of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. Miller was on its board as well as Roger short, Jeff Beasley, Sean Werdlow. Involved downtown development.
There was the Book Cadillac contract in which Ferguson did demolition. Kilpatrick wanted Ferguson to get the contract.
"He saw it as a signature contract. A significant project for the administration. A flagship," says Miller.
Miller says he wanted Ferguson on it but also wanted equal participation in terms of minority and Detroit contractors.
Demolition projects were a priority in city government. They were overseen by DBSE, Detroit Buildings and Safety engineering. Amaruneah oversaw that department. Ferguson oversaw some demolition work.
Talking about John Adamo getting Detroit demolition work.
Chutkow asks for a sidebar to explain his foundation more fully.
9:30AM Miller met with Adamo and Adamo indicated that he was having a hard time getting demolition business in the city at the time. Adamo said that he didn't have a good relationship with Ferguson and felt that might be why he was not getting work. Adamo said he was a Detroit-based business.
Miller visited Adamo's location on the eastside of Detroit. Adamo had a physical location on 7 mile in Detroit. Miller went by himself on this site visit.
Miller then spoke to the mayor about his visit and the meeting with Adamo. Relayed about how Adamo's business had been there for years and thought that in part he wasn't getting work because of Ferguson interfering.
Mayor was actually pretty receptive to the news.
Miller also talked to Ferguson about Adamo. Ferguson's response was that he had bad blood with Adamo with their companies always competing for contracts. Ferguson said that Adamo was not to be trusted.
9:40AM Text exchange from July 21st 2004
Ferguson: Hey don't let Zeke let Adamo in. We can't trust them and they bad mouthing all of us.
Ferguson: Adamo Demolition. zeke will be coming to you about helping them but it's not cool I don't trust them and they lost that's the bottom line. everyone bidded and they lost.
Mike Farrow came to talk to Miller. Complained about Ferguson too. Said he was a demolition contractor headquartered in Detroit and said Ferguson was stepping on his business. Felt Amru Meah was working against him too by being negative towards him too. Farrow's business is a minority enterprise, on the eastside of Detroit.
Miller said he spoke to Meah about Farrow but doesn't remember speaking to Ferguson about him.
Miller said there was a period of time where city council was looking into demolition contracts and who was doing the work. The liaison to city council reported back to Miller who then took it to cabinet discussion with mayor.
City council had received complaints about demolition work in terms of effectiveness and who was receiving the work. City council was concerned about contractual amounts. Miller says the demolition contracts were being scrutinized for their contractual limit amounts. Contractors had a limits of what they could receive from the city. Once those limits had been surpassed, there had to be amendments. Ferguson had exceeded his contractual limits.
Miller conveyed this to Kilpatrick and that action had to be taken to extend his amount in order to allow him to continue doing demolition work.
Talking about Inland Waters Pollution Control. Contract with Inland Waters that was being paused. Miller talked to Ferguson about the contract- Bobby wanted to participate in it. Kilpatrick was present in the conversation where Ferguson expressed his interest in the contract. Mayor had an interest in assisting Ferguson. Miller then made a call to Inland Waters to support that at the mayor's direction. Kilpatrick wanted Miller to ask for Ferguson participation in the project. Miller spoke to Dennis Oszust of Inland Waters.
Inland Waters was already teamed with Charlie Williams, a former head of the DWSD. In 2002, Miller went to the Mackinaw Policy Conference. Talked to the mayor there about the contract and Kilpatrick asked him to talk to Kathleen McCann about the contract. Miller approached McCann and asked what the status was in regards to Ferguson participating on the project. Miller says McCann was very curt and she seemed a little agitated. She was vague and didn't want to engage in the conversation.
Miller was surprised at her reaction. Told Kilpatrick about McCann's agitated reaction. Miller doesn't remember former mayor's response.
Now going to the fall of 2005. Miller still Chief Administrative Officer at the time. Discussing the sinkhole project and payment related to Ferguson. There was an amendment for Inland Waters on the sinkhole that had not been processed. Ferguson felt that he had not been paid for work performed for Inland. Ferguson told this to Miller, that he was owed money.
10:00AM Talked to the mayor about it. Kilpatrick said that Inland's payment was not going to move forward until Ferguson was paid. Specifically, that he would hold the amendment until Inland situation with Ferguson was resolved.
Miller talked to Victor Mercado but there wasn't much Mercado could do about the dispute between contractors. Mercado expressed concern that the mayor hadn't signed the amendment.
Looking at an email from Bernard Parker with Insituform dated October 23rd 2005. Parker talks about how he talked to Kilpatrick who told him that Miller was looking into resolving the situation. Insituform had performed work on the sinkhole too and thus the amendment affected them too. Parker approached Miller and wanted to know what was happening with amendment. Miller told him he was working on it.
Miller spoke to Yale Levin at Inland Waters and asked him what needed to happen in order for this to move forward. Levin said that Ferguson had been paid and that the additional money was for work that he did not perform.
Talked to mayor about conversations with Levin. Told Kilpatrick that Levin indicated that Ferguson had been paid and that this was money being sought for work not done. Levin was concerned and indicated that Ferguson could be trouble for the mayor and he should stay away from him. Also told Kilpatrick that Inland was open to resolving the situation.
Kilpatrick listened but said that Inland owed Ferguson money. Miller didn't typically get involved in contractor disputes.
Miller recalls going to a later lunch meeting with Ferguson and Dennis Oszust of Inland. Ferguson asked him to attend the meeting at Mosaic restaurant in Greektown. Miller says they communicated via text and he showed up at the restaurant. Ferguson and Miller stepped away, had a conversation and Miller left. Ferguson didn't tell him what Miller's purpose at the meeting was. Miller understood that this was a meeting to resolve the issue and that Miller showing up was a sign of the administration's concern with the resolution of the issue.
After the meeting, the amendment was authorized.
Looking at the awarding of amendment #4 to contract 1368. December 23rd 2005 is when Kilpatrick signed off on the amendment in his capacity as Special Administrator over water contracts.
In 2003, Miller went with Mercado, Ferguson, Dedan Milton, Kilpatick to Puerto Rico. Purpose of the trip was to have Mercado show them the acquaduct system in Puerto Rico. The trip was the mayor's idea as was inviting Ferguson. no other outside contractors were invited on the trip.
o. The trip was the mayor's idea as was inviting Ferguson. no other outside contractors were invited on the trip.
Mayor told Miller that he wanted Ferguson and Mercado to have a good relationship and that potentially there might be opportunities abroad, in Puerto Rico, that might be made available to Ferguson. Mercado ran the water facility in Puerto Rico before arriving in Detroit.
Miller says there was a period of time where Mercado complained about the combative nature of his relationship with Ferguson. Mercado was concerned that Ferguson was constantly on his case about work at the DWSD. Also said that request for change orders, emergency contracts were problematic for him.
Mayor told Miller that he wanted Ferguson and Mercado to have a good relationship and that potentially there might be opportunities abroad, in Puerto Rico, that might be made available to Ferguson. Mercado ran the water facility in Puerto Rico before arriving in Detroit.
Miller says there was a period of time where Mercado complained about the combative nature of his relationship with Ferguson. Mercado was concerned that Ferguson was constantly on his case about work at the DWSD. Also said that request for change orders, emergency contracts were problematic for him and he needed to be able to do his job but Ferguson was aggressive.
10:15AM Miller says that Kilpatrick would often meet Mercado in his office and they would discuss Ferguson's contracts. There would be times where the issue of change orders and emergency contracts for Ferguson would be raised. There were times when Mercado pushed back.
Mercado told Miller that the mayor was on him about work for Ferguson. He felt that it was occurring too often for him and he was shaken by it.
Talking about Lakeshore Engineering and $10 million sewer lining contract. Miller says Lakeshore had been awarded the $10 million contract, 1361. Miller says the contract was held by Mercado. Miller talked to the mayor about the contract. The first conversation about it was that Lakeshore was concerned that the contract was not awarded. Mercado told Miller that the contract was held and he expressed concern that the work needed to be performed but it was requested by the mayor that he hold the contract.
Miller says he had a series of conversations with the mayor about contract 1361. miller says he was contacted by Carolyn cheeks Kilpatrick's office to have a meeting with Tom Hardiman
Text on May 2 2003
Ferguson:Tom hardiman lakesure they called your mother office on us. zeke just called me.
You got to talk to dedan and zeke this sh\t is funny about the sh*t the union and lakesure is saying. Hey I didn't know I would become the motherf^*$ing man of The real man 'kmk'
Text on June 10 2003
Mayor's assistant: Derrick can you call me the mayor wants you to handle the mtg with thomas hardiman today at 4:30pm. He wants you to listen & be vague.
"I listened and was vague," says Miller about his meeting with Tom Hardiman. Followed Kilpatrick's instructions.
Miller told Kilpatrick about Hardiman's concern about his negative relationship with Ferguson.
Miller also told Ferguson who basically said "screw them."
Miller says the contract was later rolled into an existing contract with Inland Waters.
Kilpatrick basically said that the contract would not be awarded to Lakeshore. Miller conveyed this to Mercado who said "ok."
10:30AM Moving to another topic so judge says this is a good time to take the 20 minute break.
You replied on 1/8/2013 11:39 AM.
New tidbit I learned about the courthouse security and magnatometers. Apparently, many women come through with their cell phones- not allowed in the courthouse- in their bras exclaiming they forgot they were there. It's always something new here at the courthouse....
11:00AM Judge Nancy Edmunds enters the courtroom.
Continuing with Derrick Miller and contract 1361. Kilpatrick said contract was to be canceled because Ferguson had asked him to cancel it. Kilpatrick then told Miller to tell Mercado to cancel the contract.
Talking about contract 849 about the outfalls into the river. Looking at an email from Bernard Parker dated February 1st 2005. Subject is meeting with Miller about the outfalls contract.
Parker talks about meeting Miller to discuss 849 and future opportunities with the city.
Parker discussed that Ferguson was not involved in the design build team. Miller asked why Ferguson was not included. Ferguson was already working with Lanzo construction.
Parker assured Miller that Ferguson would ultimately have a spot on Insituform's team.
Miller says it was standard for him to inquire about work opportunities for Ferguson. It was important for Miller to know about Ferguson's work possibilities.
Miller talked to Angelo D'Alessandro, principal of Lanzo, about his canceled contract. D'Alessandro had solicited meeting to see why 1361 had been canceled. Talked about D'Alessandro's tense relationship with Ferguson.
Miller told D'Alessandro that it was a management decision to cancel the contract. Never made any assurances to D'alessandro that he would get the next major contract.
Now talking about Walbridge Aldinger.
Text on September 11th 2002
Ferguson: You wont to meet with john rakolta jr from walbridge
Mayor: is that the main guy
Ferguson: yes he is. Bernard parker work for walbridge now basically because of them....
Mayor: cool. lets set it up.
Ferguson: thank you.
February 18th 2003 DWSD memo about the Baby Creek project. Walbridge Aldinger submitted lowest equalized bid. Miller talked to Parker, who represented Walbridge at the time, relative to the Baby Creek contract. Parker was expressing interest in getting consideration for the project through the equalization process.
Parker said that their team was already set and already had their minority participation. Miller mentioned getting Ferguson involved in the Patton Park project that was part of the Baby Creek contract.
Miller talked to Kilpatrick that the Baby Creek opportunity was out there and that Ferguson wanted in on it. Kilpatrick advised him to talk to Parker about it.
February 7 and 10 2003
Miller: Call me 5104781.
3 days later Ferguson replies: Just got back in town. Had death in my family.
Text February 10 2003
Ferguson: Zeke I know why you called me. I wont know what kind of deal it will be until 3:00 about the walbridge issue.
Ferguson: Thank you.
Ferguson: FYI William Philip has been hired to review the ordinance by Walsh Construction. I told him he needs to talk to you wonts he makes determination.
Walsh a Chicago company based in Detroit. William an attorney who went to high school with Miller and Kilpatrick. The ordinance refers to adjusted equalizattion credits given to Degtroit headquartered businesses as opposed to just based like Walsh had with its satellite office.
Ferguson: I need for you to talk to audrey Jackson purchasing pc 748 baby creek before she announced her decision.
Purchasing tabulated bids and announced them. Ferguson told Miller he was going to meet with Walbridge to discuss this and wanted to have this information first. "Her" decision would be about who won the contract.
Miller: I did.
Ferguson: Whats the verdict? Im in with walbridge now do you wont them on the job and does it legally work.
Ferguson: Talk to me.
February 10 2003
Ferguson: I need to talk to you about the walsh call you received Friday.
William Phillips: OK I am calling you now.
Miller says he talked to Phillips about his representation of Walsh in the matter of the Detroit headquarter ordinance. Miller says he decided to give Ferguson Jackson's results in advance because "he asked me to."
On February 10 2003 there is a letter from Daniel Edwards at the DWSD to Walbridge Aldinger. Audrey Jackson is copied on it. Says lowest equalized bidder is Walbridge Aldinger with $69 million. Before equalization, just based on raw numbers, Walsh was the lowest bidder.
Another text on February 13 2003
Lisa Nocerini to Miller: Curtis is here I told him about 15 mins...also victor mercado needs to talk to you asap regarding baby creek, said it is urgent...
Email from Daniel Edwards on February 13th 2003 to Mercado. Subject is Baby Creek bid protests. Has left message with Jackson to hold off response on bid protests.
Miller says the only reason Mercado would have talked to him about this would have to do with headquartered-business issue.
February 14th 2003 handwritten agreement between Ferguson and Walbridge that says if Walbridge gets Baby Creek they will sub-contract to Ferguson Enterprises work for $2.73million as well as Patton Park project for $10 million
11:35AM Text on February 14th 2003
Sean Werdlow: D, we are all set on Walbridge. Give me a call. Sean.
February 21st 2003 transmittal of a special administrative order from Mercado to Kilpatrick. Talks about how bid opening date on Baby Creek was pushed back to February 6th 2003. Says that Walbridge is a Detroit-based business and they have been awarded the bid. Total cost of project is $73 million.
Special administrative order to award contract 748, Baby Creek, signed by Kwame Kilpatrick on April 8th 2003.
Now talking about local business magnate Tony soave. Miller says he flew on his private planes a few times. Miller says mayor was on vacation when Detroit blackout occurred in 2003.
Text on August 16th 2003 from Kilpatrick to Miller
Mayor: This private plane is the sh**.
Kwame is looking at the jurors and laughing.
Text on April 12 2004
Carlita: Does the plane we are in have a vcr or dvd player on it?
Miller: Let me check.
More text on April 12 2004
Miller: Please call Jay the pilot and ask him if plane has dvd or vhs
Denise, Miller's assistant: Will do.
Miller believes Carlita was going to Florida.
Talking about Bermuda trip on soave jet with Mike Martin, EPU, Sgt Love, EPU, Jeff Beasley, Andre Cunningham, Mahlon clift, Kilpatrick and Ferguson. Kilpatrick was going to Bermuda to visit Minister of Tourism.
"The rest of us? We were just going," says Miller about why the entourage went to Bermuda.
Miller says he went to Tallahassee on Soave jet in 2007. Miller was no longer working for the city. Beasley, Cunningham, Jonathan Quarles, Executive Assistant to the mayor, he believes were also on the trip. Mayor was speaking at Florida A & M University. From Talahassee they went to Miami.
Miller says there were discussions with a Mr. Watkins in Florida. Watkins was seeking support for various of his companies from the Pension Board.
11:50AM Chauncey Mayfield also had business with city of Detroit Pension Funds- the general retirement system as well as the police and fire retirement system.
Mayor's office had representation on the boards- Jeff Beasley, city treasurer of Detroit appointed by Kilpatrick, Dedan Milton, Commissioner Scott or Seth Doyle, Walter Moore, a police officer.
Miller went with Mayfield by private jet to Las Vegas. Miller says he doesn't know if Mayfield chartered the jet. Beasley, Kilpatrick, Miller, Lucius Vasser, Dedan Milton, possibly was there.
Jim Thomas asks for sidebar.
Miller says that in Vegas, they golfed, went to some concerts. Miller doesn't know who paid for concerts and golf but Mayfield paid for jet.
Went to Charlotte on a jet provided by Mayfield. Miller doesn't remember when. Beasley, Sgt Love, Mike Martin, Kilpatrick, Dedan Milton, Ferguson, maybe was there. Purpose was business meeting with associates of Bob Johnson. Beasley. Milton and Kilpatrick all present at the meeting.
12:00PM 5 minute break.
12:10PM Talking about Synagro Technologies. Became aware of them through Jim Sype who worked for the House of Representatives when Kwame was state rep. Sype had a relationship with Jim Rosendall of Synagro. The company was in the waste business, worked to turn water waste sludge into fertilizer to use as a by-product. Synagro wanted contract with DWSD. It was over a billion dollar contract.
Miller met Rosendall and talked to Kilpatrick about Synagro. At Kilpatrick's instructions, Miller dealt directly with Rosendall who was a fund-raiser for the Kilpatrick campaign.
Bernard became involved with Synagro project. Kilpatrick asked Miller to facilitate meeting between Bernard and Rosendall. Miller says the purpose was to assist Rosendall with potential community aspect of this project. The project was going to require help with political advocacy, community support.
The idea was that Rosendall would hire Bernard to assist him with his issues. Kwame, Bernard and Miller had conversations about getting involved with Synagro. Miller says first conversation about getting Bernard involved was just between him and Kilpatrick.
Bernard told Miller that he got Synagro as a client. Raeford Jackson was also working with Synagro, with particular focus on city council.
At one point, Bernard expressed that he was upset that Synagro had stopped payment. Bernard talked about slowing the process down so that Rosendall took care of it- to slowdown the bureacratic process in order to get in the way of Synagro get his huge DWSD deal. That way Rosendall would have to catch up on his payments to Bernard.
Text on June 8th 2004 between Ayanna Kilpatrick and Mike Tardiff, a mayoral appointee who later became a consultant.
Ayanna: You are supposed to meet with Joe smiler & Leon Falk at 5:30 regarding waste hauling contract. They received msg last week no follow up since.
Smiler owned a trucking company and was a Kilpatrick supporter. Falk was a partner of Smiler's. this was about hauling waste to be disposed of. Ayanna Kilpatrick, Kwame's sister, had her own consulting business "AKTION".
Tardiff: sorry those guys. I am calling Joe now... we have to talk about this... bobby mnay want to do same thing...
Ayanna: Here we go with that bullshit again. ill talk to mayor and derrick about this
Tardiff: Talked with Joe...jr isnt coming today...we will set them up...no bullshit. if he does not come to detroit they can't meet... when he does they can...
Ayanna: Ok I know you will work it out.
Tardiff: Sorry... I will meet with them any time...It is jr's schedule...
"JR" is Jim Rosendall.
More text on June 8 2004 this time between Ayanna and Miller.
Ayanna: Here we go with this bobby bull again! Tardiff cancelled meeting with my guys agagin,. just stated that bobby wants to do the same thing (waste hauling).... Great if its room for him, terrible if he's holding us up! can we make $ too?
Miller: I think the guy went to Chicago and don't worry about it. I wanted to avoid it altogether.
"The guy" Miller says is Kilpatrick. Yet another Kwame nickname.
12:30PM Miller says that Ayanna had clients who were interested in projects and that frequently she wanted her clients to participate in projects that Ferguson also wanted. Ayanna felt if Ferguson was interested, her clients didn't stand a chance.
Miller told Kilpatrick about Ayanna feeling her clients were losing business to Ferguson.
Odell Jones, a general construction manager, owned a Detroit-based business that was a minority enterprise. Came to Miller to complain that he had issues with Ferguson on Book Cadillac and school project. Felt "his work was drying up" and was worried that it was because of his bad relationship with Ferguson.
Miller said he told the mayor and his response was "ok."
Miller left city government in the fall of 2007. Told Mercado that he was leaving the city. Says they had a pretty frank conversation and Mercado seemed to be at his wits end with the job.
"He was getting tired with the job. He was really not in a comfortable place in his job anymore," says Miller.
Mercado said he was tired of dealing with the Ferguson matter. Told Miller that the battling with Ferguson was probably the worst part of his job. Miller told Mercado to be careful and to do what he felt was right. Miller says he told him to be careful because he didn't want to get in trouble with law enforcement.
Miller does an impersonation of Mercado just "doing his usual Victor."
In August 2007, Miller told Kilpatrick it was time for him to go and that he would continue to be a supporter.
Kwame resting his head on the palm of his hand as he listens attentively to his former BFF.
Miller says Kwame was supportive of his decision to leave.
Miller says that after he left the city, after the last appointee meeting at Cobo Hall, Miller and mayor gave a speech and had a breakfast together near Campus Marshes. Miller was unofficially done with his government job. Miller talked about rumors at this meeting, about his loyalty whether he was working with the feds. Miller said he put it to rest and Kilpatrick said "I know." How ironic.
At that point, Miller had not been approached by law enforcement. Has never worn, or been asked to wear, a wire.
Looking at a check from Cityvest Capital Partners dated June 25th 2008 for $10,000 to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund. This is from Miller's company that he formed after he left the city. Miller said he gave this donation at a fund-raiser as a show of support. It was during perjury trial.
Miller says after he left the city, he ceased to socialize as much with the mayor.
Chutkow says he has an entire different subject that is going to take more than 15 minutes but he is happy to continue.
12:45PM Judge Edmunds says this is a good place to stop for the day. So Derrick Miller has yet to finish his direct testimony.
There is no court session scheduled for tomorrow so we will reconvene Thursday, January 10th at 9AM.
About the author
Alexandra Harland is a Princeton undergrad and has a masters degree in International affairs with Columbia. A Montreal native, she worked with the Daily Telegraph newspaper for a few years before transitioning to TV, when she worked at ABC News with Peter Jennings. Alexandra has also worked in newsrooms in both Detroit and Boston.