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.
8:59AM And we are back at the Theodore Levin courthouse. Kwame and Bernard Kilpatrick are seated at the defendants' table when Bobby Ferguson walks in.
Judge Nancy Edmunds walks in.
Immediate sidebar for all the lawyers.
Strangely, Kwame just walked out of the courtroom. Ferguson is reading his book of inspirational verses.
And Kwame is back before the sidebar has even disbanded. But now Ferguson has left the courtroom too.
9:08AM Judge discusses hearsay issues that she says have been discussed beyond the parameters of the courtroom. She says she has allowed 2 instances of third party statements that she knows that defense is not happy. She says what she has allowed is not hearsay but specific to the case. She cites other cases to support her statement. She cites Williams case: admitted to establish victims' state of mind and not offered as proof of truth. Not for the truth but for the fact that the witness heard them and it goes to their state of mind. Edmunds cites Collins case: state of mind exception to the hearsay rule. In a prosecution of fear through economic loss, state of mind of victim is pertinent.
John Shea, lawyer for Bernard, makes a brief statement, agreeing that state of mind that is not hearsay. Pushes the boundaries sometimes though and it is not always evidence and it can be hearsay. Says there is a distinction that needs to be made.
Judge says she understands the distinction and has tried not to go over the boundary.
Gerald Evelyn, lawyer for Ferguson, also makes a statement about a question being posed "if it's true" for the truth of it. Judge says that is an inappropriate statement and she would sustain an objection of it.
Susan Van Dusen also makes a statement about a specific incident yesterday that she felt was hearsay.
US attorney Mark Chutkow says that in that incident the witness had a direct conversation and thus could be questioned about it. Judge concurs.
Done with hearsay statements. Judge calls in the jury.
Jim Thomas, Kwame's lawyer will pick up his cross-examination of government witness Bernard Parker.
9:19AM Parker confirms he was hired twice at Walbridge Aldinger. The first time was in 2002 and the second in 2006. The last time he was employed as a business developer.
Thomas asking if witness actively tried to persuade an executive for a job at Aldinger. Parker says he did interview with them and did want the job. Met with Dave Hansen, an exec at Walbridge.
Thomas says did you attempt to get Hansen to hire you in 2002 based on your city contacts. Parker agrees that he did.
In 2006, Parker interviewed with Ron Hausmann, another exec at Walbridge. While at Walbridge, witness had contact with John Rakolta. Discussed Parker's contacts within the city.
Thomas asks did you know that Rakolta was opposed to your re-employment at Walbridge because he felt you over sold your city contacts. Parker says he did not.
Thomas says "Did you know that he (Rakolta) thought you are a bullshit artist who oversold yourself?"
Parker says he did not and that would be strange because Rakolta has final saying over hirings and he was still hired in 2006.
Thomas shows witness article about Kwame's re-election in 2005.
Witness says he was a "checker-challenger" during the 2005 re-election where he would check that the people receiving the ballots are doing their job correctly.
Thomas says in a recount there are also challengers. Witness says he was a checker-challenger at 6 mile.
Between first week of election and December 23rd, do you remember going to Cobo to review the voting had been done correctly. "No sir that was not..."
Cut off by government objection. Judge overrules.
Sidenote, Parker's dad is a Wayne County Commissioner.
And Thomas sticking to the recount point. Parker saying he does not recall despite looking at documents.
Parker says very strongly that he did not participate in the recount. Thomas says ok he will move on.
Parker says on the 23rd or 24th of December he was in a meeting with Ferguson, Dennis Oszust of Inland at Ferguson Enterprises on Wyoming. Thomas hands witness document to refresh his recollection of the meeting.
At that time Insituform was concerned with the approval of amendment #4 of 1368. Yesterday we heard that PAul Meschino of Insituform thought it was a dead issue that wasn't going anywhere.
Parker says it wasn't his impression that the issue was dead but he did believe it was on the mayor's desk.
At the meeting, Parker was surprised to learn that Kilpatrick had signed off on the administrative order earlier. Kwame approved the order on December 23rd 2005.
"I don't use the term snitches sir," Parker tells Thomas about his city contacts.
9:35AM Thomas says you have to rely on a source of information. Thomas saying to witness that you had certain impressions of amendment #4 when you met with Ferguson. Witness agrees.
Thomas says "And those impressions turned out to be incorrect." Parker says "I don't know about that sir."
Thomas and Parker arguing over the possibility that Kilpatrick didn't actually sign the order on December 23rd. Parker has implied it could have been backdated.
Parker says prior to coming to court that he had not seen the special administrative order.
"Did the government tell you about its difficulty in relation to your testimony," asks Thomas. No replies Parker.
Parker says that in federal interviews he was asked about 1368. Thomas says you never told them about meeting Kilpatrick about 1368. Witness says he can't recall that.
June 7th 2010- Thomas asks if Parker met with feds. Parker can't remember so he asks for a document to refresh his memory. Parker remembers and says that was not his first meeting. Had you talked to them before that meeting about 1368 asks Thomas. Parker replies no. And on the June 10th meeting did you mention it?
Parker reviews the interview document to refresh his memory.
9:45AM Thomas asking when it first came up in interviews with feds that you met with Kilpatrick at a precinct delegate meeting.
Kwame passes a note to Thomas at the podium.
In an interview on October 30th 2012 with the feds, Parker could not remember where the meeting occurred.
But now you remember asks Thomas incredulously?
Thomas asks witness if he said yesterday that the mayor told him to get together with Ferguson about 1368. Parker a little flustered as he replies "Yes sir."
Isn't it true that you said he (Kilpatrick) said that you should get together with Oszust and Ferguson on 1368. Yes says Parker.
Then Thomas shows witness his statement on October 30th where he said that the mayor told him to see both Oszust and Ferguson because they were arm's length apart on 1368 amendment negotiations. So Parker contradicted himself in testimony yesterday when he said the mayor told him to meet only Ferguson.
Now Thomas discussing Rakota, CEO, of Walbridge who he says knew Kilpatrick on a personal basis.
Parker says that Rakolta told him himself he could not get his calls returned by Kilpatrick.
Thomas says but that was early on in your time at Walbridge. Thomas says they saw each other socially at each other's homes. Parker says he wouldn't know about that.
Thomas asks witness how long witness knows Derrick Miller. Parker says for a long time, his father was Miller's baseball coach so he knew him from childhood. Also knew Ferguson for a long time.
Thomas says so you fostered those childhood friendships. Parker says well sometimes childhood friendships don't carry into adulthood. Says I hadn't seen Miller ikn a very long time.
Parker says he tried to re-engage Miller when Kilpatrick ran for office.
Thomas says you are a person who tries to engage with city to benefit your employer- to develop relationships, to use that access to communicate further and get a benefit for the company.
Thomas says you used commonality with Miller to get him to hear what you had to say. Parker says he didn't use him, it was a relationship.
Thomas asks who the first person witness would have called in a situation with your employer.
"It would have been Derrick," says Parker.
10:00AM Evelyn cross-examines.
"For the record I'm glad you're better sir," says Parker to Evelyn.
Michigan State trained lobbyist also a paralegal says Parker. Witness says he is 43. Does not look it at all- would have said a decade younger.
Parker confirming his father is Bernard Parker Jr who started "Operation Getdown" in 1971-72 during Coleman Young's administration. Sounds like a disco move.
Parker says his father will retire from his position as Commissioner on December 31st.
Evelyn says you met a lot of people through your father, they know you are Bernard Parker's son. Yes sir says the witness.
Evelyn says part of what you do in the field of business development is a very localized driven business endeavor. Witness agrees.
So easier for do your job in Detroit than say LA.
So it's easier for you to take advantage of your contacts here. Parker not liking terms "exploiting and "taking advantage."
You want to maintain relations that will facilitate things for your clients. Yes sir replies Parker.
Parker is taking issue with term exploit. "I don't exploit," says Parker.
Parker was campaign manager for Charlie Beckham. Was in charge of fund-raising and political connections. Parker saying the way the campaign was a little unorthodox when compared to other campaigns.
Parker agrees he was compensated for his position with salary, bonus and sometimes percentage of what he brings in.
With respect to cultivating relationships says Evelyn, sometimes you do things for them. Yes sir.
Looking at an email sent by Parker on January 9th 2007 Michelle Luft, a former employee of Walbridge. A request for Walbridge to pay for some tickets to the Jamie Foxx Unpredictable tour. attending would be Parker, his wife and Christine Beatty and her spouse. Using funds from marketing account.
Second email on March 16th 2007, again to Luft, for tickets to Kat Williams comedy show for Kandia Milton and wife and Parker and wife.
April 3rd 2007, Tiger games request lists a series of dates Kandia and De Dan milton, also 2 employees from DWSD.
Parker says he did this to cultivate relationships. Parker says he did not attend the games, or the comedy show and the Fox show.
April 18th 2007, Parker requested 4 tickets to Earthquake Concert at the Fox. Tickets were for Miller and wife and Parker and wife. Again, Parker saying he did not attend. Earthquake apparently a comedy show.
May 25th 2007, "don't laugh" request for tickets to New Edition concert for Miriam Dixon from the DWSD and friend and and Parker and wife. Parker saying he did not go to concert because he couldn't get a babysitter.
May 9th 2007, about a request a contribution to city Human Rights department intern program. Request for $2,500 for Kim Harris HR. Parker says he discussed contribution with Ron Hausmann of Walbridge.
Email on March 13th 2007 from Tom Hayes to Jesse Norwood. From some company based in Alabama. About payment for Parker, 1% of contract as commision. Saying Parker wanted bonus of $300,000 of success of getting Fergsuson. Parker agreed to $25,000.
"Jesse Norwood was afraid of dealing with the city of Detroit. He didn't want to deal with Bobby." says Parker.
Evelyn incensed. "I didn't ask you that. Are you so desperate to do the government's job for them?"
Looking at another email. November 1st 2004 email from Kenneth Quillen to Paul Meschino of Insituform about DWSD contract 849, a design/build project. Parker had sent an initial email saying: Team decided to add Ferguson enterprises and Multi-Solutions (Betty Kilpatrick- possibly Bernard's ex) the reasoning behind out team member decision involves or ability to maximize LED (Local Economic Development) opportunities.
November 2nd 2004, Quillen email response to Parker's email. Concerned that Inland was going to push them out. Says Oszust of Inland picked most of the participanst including Ferguson Enterprises.
Parker saying it has been so long he can't remember the emails.
Quillen says we need to proceed with caution and he believes they are going to be manipulated. Going to be asked to reduce price.
Email on January 6th 2005 from Parker to Insituform execs. Parker discusses receiving a call from a high level appointee of the Kilpatrick administration. This person reminded Parker that since employment with insituform work has increased dramatically under contract 1368. Parker says he was also told that additional work that might be added to the existing contracts as well as other possible contracts.
Bernard says that the high-level appointee is Ferguson. Ferguson was never a high level appointee of the Kilpatrick administration.
Evelyn says you either lied to your bosses or to the jury. Parker says he lied to his bosses.
Evelyn says you are the sort of person who will lie if it's advantageous. Parker says he does not agree with line of questioning.
10:30AM Evelyn says let's try to figure out what's true and not true.
Email just mentions also says appointee asks for list of what Insituform had been doing in terms of corporate citizenship.
Evelyn asks did Ferguson make you write that email. No admits Parker.
Did Ferguson tell you to tell your boss that you had increased profits and that he was high level appointee. And to re-assess corporate citizenship.
Yes he did says Parker.
"M*****f***** you better think about what's going on." Those were apparently Ferguson's words on re-assessing corporate citizenship. Ferguson cracking up.
In the email discusses appointee agreeing about others not hampering or interfering in their business. Parker also suggests that he and other Insituform execs should set up a meeting with Kilpatrick.
Evelyn says so this letter is just a bunch of hogwash. Parker says he wrote the letter. Insituform was worried about Inland developing another company that would make them obsolete.
Parker says the reasoning for the letter is 2-fold: to get money and to solidify relationships.
Evelyn saying you weren't saying to meet Ferguson in the letter. No sir says Parker.
10:43AM Judge calls for a 20 minute break.
11:05AM First floor snack shop confessionals time. Not much to report today except that Kwame got a bottle of water and a bag of trail mix paid for by the guy I can only describe as "Bobby's handler." At least that's what we're calling him in the second floor media room.
Just noticed that defense lawyer Mike Rataj has decided to do without his glasses today. Never seen him without them.
11:15AM Session picks up again. Government lawyer Chutkow asks for a brief sidebar.
Kwame, Ferguson and "handler guy" all standing. Bernard is sitting at the table writing some notes. Christmas cards perhaps?
Evelyn picks up his cross. Decides to go in an another direction.
A defense document seems to be incomplete and government doesn't have all the pages but government ok with Evelyn asking about it.
Letter from Daniel Edwards at the DWSD to Jacquelyn Jordan at DWSD on September 22nd 2002. About advertising for the Babby Creek project. Advertised in the Detroit legal News, Michigan Contractor & Builder and the Michigan Chronicle. Bids to be opened October 31st 2002 at the Coleman A Young Municipal Center Building.
Parker volunteers that it's odd to have a 2 week turn around time between pre-bid conference on October 15th and the bid opening.
Evelyn tells witness he wasn't asked that and to answer only what he is asked.
Apparently a city of Detroit document was attached to a Walbridge Aldinger document so they have been separated so that jury is clear on where they each came from.
Looking at Walbridge internal document listing contractors, Ferguson Enterprises amongst them. Parker says he has never seen the document before.
Looking at a 6 page document. Starts with email from Ron Hausmann to John Rakolta and others at Walbridge. About Baby Creek project. Talks about specifics on bids being very close and how it seems that they might have the job.
Parker says he thinks he submitted the bid. Has never seen the email before either.
"And for a sweet $73 million job everyone will get vicious," writes Hausmann in his email.
"Because this will be a real dog fight you know. There is no protocol or precedent that the City has for this, and their administrators are frankly way over their heads in trying to comprehend the permutations. Please don't share this stuff unless you feel you must."
Baby Creek a very coveted project.
3rd page of exhibit a fax cover sheet to Walbridge form Faith robinson at DWSD Contracts and Grants on contract 748, Baby Creek.
February 10th 2003 letter from DWSD's Dan Edwards on $69 million bid from Walbridge being the lowest bid on 748.
February 12th 2003 email from Parker to Hansen, Hausmann and subject is Baby Creek project. Says he spoke with Dan Edwards, indicated that he had talked to City's lawyers who said that Audrey Jackson of City's Purchasing had been given the go ahead to conduct a review. Basically indicates Walbridge getting 748. Parker says it was not insider information from Edwards.
Looking at handwritten agreement between Ron Hausmann and Ferguson on February 14th 2003. This agreement made after Edwards' let them know it looked like they were getting Baby Creek.
February 11th 2003 email from City's Human Rights department to Walbridge about Executive Order #22. Saying that the department has been made aware that the have received a contract. So a day later, Walbridge is given interim clearance Baby Creek.
11:40AM Parker says Executive Order #22 is about the labor force- have to have a quota of minority women and Detroit residents on the contract.
More emails involving Walbridge. First is email from Hausmann to Rakolta on January 7th 2007. Heads up that Rakolta may get a call from Ferguson on Oakwood and his involvement with dirt team on the job. Looks like Walbridge reached out to Ferguson on Oakwood.
Another email from Scott Penrod at Walbridge to Parker and others. Seems they are asking Parker to get bid date pushed back by a week.
Another email from Penrod in March 2007 forwarding Parker's email to him. Indicates that Parker has talked to DWSD and the date was pushed back to the date Walbridge wanted.
Parker says he did not get Edwards to push it back.
"What you are insinuating is misleading", says Parker.
Why was bid date pushed back? "Because bulletin #3 wasn't prepared."
Evelyn says so not unusual for bid date to be pushed back. No says the witness.
Evelyn talking about DWSD contract 2014 with Lakeshore Engineering. Talking about testimony yesterday about Ferguson asking him to get his city contacts to decertify E & T Trucking.
On the bid proposal, it looks like E & T Trucking's Minority Business Enterprise certification is "in process."
Talking about when witness worked for Ferguson's Xcel and Ferguson Enterprises.
Evelyn lists Parker's employment history:
Evelyn says so after all this conduct with Ferguson you went to work with him?
"I made a bad judgment, yes."
Evelyn says after you had talked to Ferguson about putting citizens of Detroit you went to work for him?
Looking at another document which is a letter from March 12th 2009 that Parker wrote to Sheila Cockrel. He wrote to several other Council members the exact same letter. Wanted to meet with them to discuss Ferguson Enterprises and their ability to provide quality work. Recent "nay" vote on 2 contracts having a negative impact that will cause uptick in homelessness, unemployment and foreclosures.
Letter from June 19th 2009 addressed to Parker from DWSD on contract 668 "water system improvements". City Council denial of the contract. DWSD recommended that Ferguson Enterprises be awarded the contract based on the fact that they were lowest bidder. But contract not approved by City Council. Denied twice. So after 2 denials, the DWSD has to go to the next lowest bidder.
12:03PM If City Council doesn't approve a contract it doesn't happen. DWSD was given no reason, explanation or rationale for why they denied the contract. suggested that FEI contact City Council directly for explanation.
Parker laughing for a reason I cannot figure out.
Left Ferguson Enterprises in 2009. But before prepared a consultant agreement with Ferguson Enterprises that was never enacted. Parker wanted Ferguson as his first client.
Parker says agreement was not his idea. The document was a preformed document into which he entered information. But he did generate the document.
August 20th 2009, states that BP Associates will provide services to Ferguson. Will receive bi-monthly payment of $2,500 a month. Also asking for a %: .5% for any contract brought in as a bonus.
So, Evelyn says, despite extortion and illegal conduct experiences with Ferguson, you still wanted him to be your first customer? Yes sir.
Evelyn lists Parker's several interviews with the feds. So you've had a lot of exposure to the government? Yes sir.
And you've been asked questions about your expected testimony?
Evelyn mentions cigar bar in Harmony Park where he saw Jim Thomas.
Evelyn asks if witness remembers seeing him there last year. Evelyn says "you see me, wave and as I go past you come out to see me."
Government objects and asks for sidebar.
Evelyn has obviously been told to drop this line. But asks about seeing a Clarence Carpenter at the Lahabana cigar. That the witness showed him invoices owed him on the cell phone. Witness says he doesn't remember.
Did you approach him about getting paid $5,000 for business. Yes sir.
And did you show him invoices on your cell phone.
"Emphatically no sir."
12:15PM Mark Chutkow redirects for the government.
Chutkow addresses comment about working for the government.
"Are you working for the government?"
"Why are you here?"
"I was subpoenaed."
Witness says he doesn't want to be there. He has not been threatened with prosecution or financial gain to be here.
"Do you have anything to gain from being here?" asks Chutkow. No says witness.
Looking at email from Jesse Norwood where he said he didn't want to deal with Ferguson.
Email from Parker to Insituform execs on January 6th 2005. This is email where Parker said he had talked to high level appointee in the Kilpatrick administration. Parker says he wrote the email because Bobby wanted money from Insituform and at that time Insituform was worried that Inland Waters was going to push them out so they were trying to create a strategy.
Parker said he believed that Ferguson was influential in the city administration. Witness felt he had very high level of influence.
"He was the mayor's best friend."
Looking at email October 23rd 2005. From Parker to Paul Meschino where he says he talked to Kilpatrick at invite-only Precinct Delegate reception. Where Kilpatrick supposedly told witness to talk to Bobby about contract. Witness says this was face to face.
Summer of 2005 meeting at Ferguson Enterprises with Ferguson, Oszust of Inland about the amendment to 1368 being held up. Witness says this was months before December 2003 approval by Kilpatrick. Witness says this was a face to face meeting with Ferguson.
Chutkow addressing emails to get tickets for public officials.
Witness says he has never given cash, flights, dress suits or Cartier watches to public officials under questioning by Chutkow.
Thomas calls for sidebar.
Chutkow addresses "bad judgment" statement about working with Ferguson.
"It has cost me personally and professionally," says Parker
"I don't have an ax to grind with either Ferguson or Kilpatrick," he adds.
Chutkow done with redirect. Judge asks if there is any more re-cross for witness. Both Thomas and Evelyn say they have more.
Thomas at the podium to ask a question and Kwame gets up behind him to stop him from asking question. Thomas tells him to sit back down but doesn't ask question.
12:30PM Court adjourned until tomorrow 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.