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.
9:04AM Video feed has just come on.
It's going to be a late start again today. Lines to get into the courthouse were unbelievably long again today- this time because it's immigration day.
Defendants Kwame Kilpatrick, Bobby Ferguson and Bernard Kilpatrick are all sitting at an otherwise empty defendants'. Kwame and and Bobby are still sporting the springtime beige hues but Bernard is in a dark jacket, yellow shirt with matching pocket square sand red tie.
9:12AM Businessman Tony Soave has just walked into the courtroom accompanied by 2 handler-type looking guys.
Judge Nancy Edmunds enters and court is called into session.
9:14AM Judge Edmunds mentions that Jim Thomas is not in court because he had another matter. Harold Gurewitz will be representing Kwame this morning.
9:15AM US Attorney Michael Bullotta questions Tony Soave.
Soave says that he would have rather lost a job than gone 50/50 with Ferguson. Soave says he contracted with the city under various mayors and that they never held up contracts. He doesn't know whether any other mayor ever told him to use another sub-contractor the way Kwame did with Ferguson.
Soave says he never did the things he did for Kwame for Archer.
9:17AM Mike Rataj for Bobby Ferguson cross-examines Soave.
Rataj asks about Soave Enterprises. It's a holding company? I don't know.
It's privately held? Yes says Soave.
And Soave Enterprises owns lots of different companies? Yes.
Rataj asks about metal processing companies owned by Soave. Soave owns Ferrous Processing amongst others. He knows he has 2 others as well.
And Soave Enterprises has substantial real estate holdings throughout the US? Yes says Soave.
Luxury residential complexes? Yes in Florida and in Virginia.
Brambleton? That's in Virginia.
The Dunes? In Florida.
Soave also owns piece of land in Phoenix.
And commercial real estate as well? Bay Dunes Country Club? That's sold.
City Sports Center on Lafayette? Yes says Soave.
Luxury office complexes? No.
Did I miss anything? Soave says he has other pieces in Michigan, in Rochester.
Also owns sub-divisions? Huron Point? Huron Point never built.
The Moors of Oxford? Partially built.
White Oaks Crossing? I believe that's in Genesee County.
Did I miss anything? I don't know. There could be another one or 2.
There is industrial property? Yes.
Soave says he has a rental piece in Romulus by the airport .
Soave says he owns MPS but doesn't know what the initials stand for.
Are you in the beverage distribution business? No longer says Soave.
He owns car dealerships including Mercedes, Range Rover, Maserati all in Kansas City.
Soave Enterprises also involved in hydroponic greenhouse operations- grow tomatoes. They have 2. "One is a seedling operation and the other grows big tomatahhs." He just pronounced tomatoes "tomatahhs". Unbelievable. This guy has his hands in everything.
9:29AM You have warehouses? Yes I do.
You owned City Aviation? Yes.
And you testified yesterday to woning 3 planes? Yes.
And you own Checker Cabs? Yes.
Rataj talking about his ownership of largest waste management systems in the entire world. Soave agrees it's true.
You're involved in sewer repair work? Yes.
Inland waters involved in sewer repair? Yes.
You have 4 different protfolio under the umbrella of Soave enterprises? I don't understand.
Rataj explains how he has 4 people running 4 separate portfolios. Soave agrees it's true.
Industrial Services, Real Estate, Dealerships, Diversified Holdings portfolios.
Would you estimate you own over 50 companies? To me it's one. I don't know how many.
It could be more than 50? I don't know. I suppose it could be.
Soave Enterprises owns a lot of different companies? Yes.
Yale Levin, Kathleen McCann and Mike Piesco, Mike Hollerback run the portfolios says Soave.
Soave Enterprises is worth 2.5 billion? Soave says I don't know. I don't know where you got that. I'm not sure.
Rataj hands him a document from Forbes to refresh his memory on his worth.
Rataj says that as of 2006 that Soave was worth 1.5 billion and was 251st biggest privately held company in the US? Yes.
In 2009 Soave was 216th privately held in US? I didn't know.
The judge admonishes Rataj for reading the numbers into the record.
Rataj asks about revenues in 2008. Soave says according to document it was 2.5 billion. "It's a lot of muchachos, yeah," says Soave. The whole courtroom erupts into laughter. "It's a lot less glamorous than it sounds."
Rataj says it sounds good to him. Soave says it's out there for him to get. Rataj says maybe he'll work for Soave.
What was your first business? It was contracting. "I had a truck and a bulldozer," says Soave.
Rataj says it was in the 60s? Yes.
From a truck and a bulldozer to 2.5 billion. That's impressive? I don't talk about myself but yes.
You had help from various politicians as you where coming up?
Coleman Young mentored you? I think you misunderstood, he asked me to mentor people.
Soave says Coleman Young got him mentoring people.
He was a friend of yours? "I was friendly with him."
"It's good to be friends with the mayor of the city where you are working." says Soave.
Soave agrees he was friends with Engler, Archer, McNammara, Young and Kwame Kilpatrick. And Brooks Patterson as well.
Soave says he is not friends with politicians in other cities.
Rataj asks if most locales have favorite contractors?
Isn't it normal that in different cities there are favored contractors? Soave agrees with that.
You are friendly with politicians because you want access? Yes says Soave.
You want to cut through bureaucracy and go right to the boss? Yes.
There is a good feeling in being friends with politicians? Yes says Soave.
It's good to have politicians associated with some of your companies? I don't know that at all.
Soave says the only one he knows is Sharp?
What about Charlie Williams? He was director of the DWSD? Yes.
Williams had friends and contacts within the city of Detroit? Yes.
9:46AM You would agree that having williams as sub-contractor assisted getting contracts? Soave says listen with DWSD we bid all the contracts. He was familiar with the people at the DWSD.
And that helped get contracts? Well he knew the people.
Well prior to the process, the people in the DWSD they know Charlie Williams? Soave says I would assume at the DWSD there is not a box that says they know Charlie Williams.
Williams did not have employees, equipment, didn't do sewere repair and pipe rehabilitation? No he did not.
Williams brought relationships and access to the table? "He brought much more than that. He was an attorney. I thought he'd be a good person to mentor."
He brought access and relationships? "He knew people at the Water Board, yes."
Rataj says that at the end of the day Williams was nothing but a minority front? That is not true.
You were going to us another contractor, CJ Williams and Associates, as a pass-through? That is not true.
Isn't true that Williams did not have a real company that could get it's boots on the ground? He did not have a company that could get boots on the ground agrees Soave.
Williams was a minority and had a Degtroit-based business and that gave him more points in bidding process? Soave agrees with the statement.
You would agree that the contracting business is no walk in the park? Yes.
Very competitive? Yes.
And even harder for minority contractors? Yes that's why they have mentoring programs.
9:53AM You would agree it's good to help out minoritties in Degtroit? Yes.
"It's a bare knuckle fight" asks Rataj about contracting business? Yes agrees Soave.
You have to stand your ground and not be intimidated? Soave agrees with that.
You described Ferguson as a pain in the butt? Yes.
You did not have direct contact with him? Yes.
And the things you learned about him came from your employees? Yes.
"I didn't know him" Soave says about Ferguson.
You will admit that along the way you will have rubbed people the wrong way? Soave says "there are different kinds of burrs underneath the saddle,"
During the course of your career you have had to sharpen your elbows? Yes says Soave.
And you've probably rubbed people the wrong way?
Bullotta objects and judge sustains.
Being a pushover is not a way to be successful? "It's a rough and tumble business."
"I'm a lovable guy" says Soave. Courtroom erupts into laughter. Jury is loving this.
You learned that Ferguson had a body of work under his belt? Yes.
Did you know that he started working for his father? No I did not know that.
Bullotta objects and judge sustains.
Did you know that Ferguson dug up Ford Field, Comerica Park and he did work on MGM Grand? No I did not.
Bullotta objects and judge sustains. "Come on Mr. Rataj move it along." says Edmunds. Rataj asks her to admonish him at sidebar.
Did you understand Ferguson to be a proud man like yourself? "He was a tough businessman" concurs Soave.
You instructed your people to push back on Ferguson? I don't quite understand that pushback. We did normal business like we normally do.
You didn't let him run over your company? Soave says no. He tried. Soave says he was getting reports that he was trying to get paid for work he didn't do.
Soave ultimately agrees that Ferguson did do the work.
"But we weren't going to pay him for not working. We made him do the work," says Soave.
Rataj asks to approach the witness.
You were going to make him do the work? Yes says Soave.
You pushed back on Ferguson. Despite his relationship with Kilpatrick you were going to make him do the work? Yes.
You expexted some retaliation from city hall? I expected it might happen.
Soave agrees that it never did happen and Inland Waters continued to get work.
Rataj talking about perceived threats from Ferguson as told by Kathleen McCann to her boss.
You said today that you didn't care that Ferguson was friends with the mayor, you still kept him in line? Yes.
You are loyal and protective of your people? Yes.
At no point did you tell with Ferguson directly? No.
You never picked up the phone and asked Ferguson to stop threatening your people? Yes.
You never asked the mayor to rein him in? Soave asked if he was still his friend. "We would have dealt with him a little differently."
Soave agrees again he never asked mayor to get Ferguson to stop threatening his people.
Soave said he didn't go to the basketball game with Kwame because "I couldn't afford anymore tickets." Even Kwame is laughing. This guy is gold.
You never took threat seriously because you never injected yourself into it? No it's not true.
Soave said they felt the threat and that Ferguson was asking for things. "Ask Mrs. McCann about that, she'll tell you,"" says Soave.
Soave says he did take threats seriously though ultimately there were no repercussions.
Rataj says but not seriously enough to pick up the phoen and call Bobby? Soave agrees he did not.
Rataj says you are not the kind of person that is intimidated easily? "By certain people i can get pushed around"
"Like your mother maybe?," asks Rataj. Laughter from the courtroom.
Kathleen McCann will be a later witness in the trial says Rataj.
Rataj says you couldn't have become so insanely successful if you were pushed around? I worked hard says soave. i think you're over using this pushed around.
No one can intimidate you except your grandkids maybe? No. "My grandkids and you," says Soave. More laughter erupts. This is a the Rataj-Soave comedy show this morning.
Rataj says you told McCann to tell Ferguson to fuck himself? Soave says he said "eff" himself. McCann doesn't swear so he would never have said it like that.
10:15AM Rataj says Ferguson never threatened to take work away from Inland Waters? Soave says you'd have to ask McCann.
Couldn't Ferguson have meant that you got contracts because he was a minority when he said "you're here because of me?"
Bullotta objects for speculation. Judge sustains.
Don't you think Kilpatrick was trying to get pass through contractors? Soave says he never heard that.
Ferguson had real company and real employees? Yes.
And Charlie Williams did not asks Rataj? Judge Edmunds says let's not go over ground that's already been well covered Mr. Rataj.
There was a contract that preceded 1368? Soave says he is not familiar with it.
Did you know that inland Waters had contract CS 1325? no I don't know.
You agree with me that 1368 was 2 contracts that became one? I don't recall that says Soave.
Rataj pauses to consult with the defense table.
Were you familiar who inland Waters was bidding against for those contracts? No says Soave.
Rataj says it was Lanzo Construction correct? Yes.
And the bid took place October 25th 2001? Soave refreshes his memory with documents
Rataj hands him documents to refresh his memory. Soave flips through the pages.
Archer was mayor at the time? Yes.
And Inland Waters was awarded both contracts? Yes.
And they were both worth $25 million? Yes.
And 1362 was rolled into 1368? Yes says Soave.
10:27AM Rataj tells judge this might be a good place to take a break.
Judge says take 20 minutes
10:49AM Break is almost over. Not much to report about the goings on at the first floor snack shop today except that I noticed that Bernard's suit is actually navy with orange stripes and an orange shirt accented with an orange tie. Not exactly pivotal to court proceedings but thought the Detroit Tigers color coordination was worth mentioning.
Judge calls court back into session. Waiting for the jurors to file back in. Apparently they may be indulging in pizza as its pizza day at the courthouse on Thursdays.
10:54AM Rataj goes back to contracts bid in October 2001 that were ultimately won by Inland Waters against Lanzo construction.
Rataj hands Soave more papers to refresh his recollection about 1368 being a continuation of 1325. Soave says it doesn't help his recollection.
Rataj says Kathleen Levy who was director of the DWSD and Charlie Williams had a relationship. Soave says "ask them."
Did you have an understanding that 1368 was a pipe rehab job? Yes says Soave.
The was a patent for the rehab process held by Insitu Form? Yes says Soave.
At one point Inland Waters was sub-contractor to Insitu form? Yes.
Rataj says that Inland ultimately elbowed Insitu out of the way to be prime contractor? Soave agrees with that statement.
In early 2002 Kilpatrick became mayor? Yes says Soave.
You Dennis Ozust? Yes.
He worked for you? Yes.
He was involved with McCann dealing with DWSD and sub-contractors? Yes.
Do you recall Ozust supplying performance and payment bonds in February 2002 to the city of Detroit? Rataj hands him documents to refresh his memory.
Rataj takes back document.
Does that refresh your recollection on performance and payment bonds? no says Soave.
Did you know that before a job you need performance bonds? Soave says he doesn't know if it needs to be provided before or after they get the job.
So bond documentation is being provided to the city of Detroit by Inland? Yes.
Do you remember an invoice for $291,000 from Inland to city of Detroit being submitted in March 2001? Soave says I don't understand where you are going.
Rataj says with all due respect you don't need to know where I'm going. Asks about the invoice for 1368 to DWSD. Soave says his recollection is not refreshed.
Soave seems to have no recollection of the specifics of contract 1368.
Rataj asks if he remembers if city council helpd up the question.
Judge Edmunds interjects and says he has no foundation for questions.
Did you know if Inland had started work on 1368 as early as January 2002? Soave says he doesn't know.
Rataj asks Soave if his is aware that there are numerous steps before a contract is awarded. Soave says yes he knows there are numerous steps.
Edmunds interrupts Rataj again for referring to contents in documents. Says it is improper questionning.
Do you know why the $291,000 invoice wasn't paid? No says Soave.
Did you know it was because the city hadn't approved the contract?
Bullotta objects. Rataj says let's go to sidebar. Edmunds says "you get to call sidebars now?". Clearly some toes are getting stepped on. Ouch.
11:11AM Sidebar disbands.
Rataj asks to show witness the interoffice memorandum from DWSD about refusal to pay the invoice.
The memo is from April 2002 from Sergir Dioso to Jacquelyn Jordan. Says the invoice wasn't approved because they didn't get notice about approval.
Soave says "these are technical terms."
You don't know the various steps have to be gone through to be approved? No.
But you thought your contract was held up by Kilpatrick? Yes that's what i was told.
But you don't know anything directly about Kilpatrick holding up 1368? No.
Anything you heard about 1368 was through your people? Yes.
Did you know that Kilpatrick had nothing to do with 1368? No I did not but can I explain asks Soave. Judge tells him that he can on redirect by Bullotta.
Did you know when 1368 was actually approved? No says Soave.
Publishing the approval of the contract by city council on June 26th 2002. Signed by Inland Waters and Board of Water directors, law office. Nowhere on the contract is there a signature for the mayor of Detroit.
Do you know when Inland Waters received its right to start letter from DWSD? No I do not says Soave.
Rataj approaches witness with documents.
Looking at the right to start letter of July 16th 2002. Victor Mercado sends Dennis Ozust letter. States that City Council approved it on June 26th 2002. Start date is July 19th 2002 and completion 3 years later.
You would agree with me that from the bid date of October 25th 2001 through July 16th 2002 is 9 months? Yes says Soave.
"That's what it says" says Soave.
Do you know how many contract amendments there were? No says Soave.
Do you know how many amendments there were and total amount of contract?Judge says you need to move on.
Rataj is done.
11:24AM Harold Gurewitz for Kwame Kilpatrick. This is the first time Gurewitz cross-examines in this trial. Should be interesting.
Jim Thomas shows up just in time to watch his colleague do his usual job.
You're a modest man in regards to your accomplishments? Did I say that asks Soave. "I don't brag", he states.
When you appeared to grand jury in 2010 your response was "I own some companies"? Yes says Soave.
And you're a lovable guy, at least to your grand-children? Yes says Soave.
You grew up in Detroit? Yes.
Your father owned a grocery store on the east side of Detroit? Yes.
Soave says he got his start with the grading business.
At some point in your career you started doing work for city of Detroit. when? I believe it was 1974 says Soave.
Soave says he bought a company that had contract in the city. It was called Sanitas.
At some point became owner of City Management? Yes. City Management bought Sanitas.
Soave says he was dealing with DPW and that he met Charlie williams after that. A couple years after that. Mid to late 70s.
11:30AM You've said it's always good practice to be on good terms with the city? Yes.
What do you mean by that? You have to perform and do good work says Soave.
Contracting business a hard area of work? Yes.
Always need to make sure you're not going to have difficulties with the city? You have to perform to make sure they're happy says Soave.
You're dealing with a select number of customers with which you can do business? Soave agrees.
There is always some anxiety with business that everything is going to go ok? Yes says Soave.
Once you get business still anxiety? Yes says Soave.
You had contact with Charlie Williams when he was at DWSD? Yes.
He was director of DWSD and Young's schief of staff at one time? Yes says Soave.
You developed substantial amount of work with the city then? Yes.
Little side note, Gurewitz used to be Coleman Young's attorney.
When did you form Soave Enterprises? "Gee I don't know, can't remember. After I sold the waste business I guess."
Soave says he's be speculating if he said when he started it.
Soave says he does what an owner does. "I poke my nose into things. I generally have an idea of what is going on."
So you'd poke into not just Inland but other businesses? Yes people would report to me and tell me things.
You depended on people who worked for you for info? Soave agrees that's true.
How long have you worked with McCann? About 20 years. Soave says no longer, "she just recently went."
Soave says in 2001 and 2002 Mcann was overseeing Inland. Talks about Yale Levin who is also on his management team. He also worked with McCann on Inland. Ozust was a field man, the other 2 mostly administrators.
Inland and Soave Enterprises aren't even located at the same place? No. "You're not trying to trick me are you?" Soave couldn't sound more like Tony Soprano if he tried.
So you would get briefed on Inland by McCann and Ozust and that's who you relied on for info? Yes says Soave.
Gurewitz asks about contract 1368. You didn't work through document details? No says soave.
Weren't involved on an everyday business? No I was not.
Soave reiterates that info on Inland would come to him via Kathleen McCann or Yale Levin.
Soave agrees that he met with Kwame after he was elected in 2002 but doesn't remember exact date.
Gurewitz publishes Kwame's calendar that shows meeting in April 2002 at 11:00-11:30am with Soave.
Soave says he doesn't know if it was that date but the timing coincides. "I know we had a meeting."
Soave says that Kilpatrick came to visit him at his business.
Gurewitz asks about Soave's charitable causes? ""I don't know. I'm always donating to city charities."
Also active in supporting political candidates? Yes.
At the time he came to see you you had supported Gil Hill? Yes says Soave.
How was the meeting? Soave says it was pleasant and they joked around a little bit. Doesn't think it was very long.
You're pretty funny? Soave says that it was mostly "the previous guy" Rataj who was funny.
You had hopes there would be good things happening in the city? Soave agrees.
You weren't going to meet a stranger? Soave says well I had met him one time.
Soave says he called to make appointment with Kilpatrick and he accepted it.
Gurewitz says you testified about meeting to grand jury in March 2010? Yes says Soave.
This was a meeting that happened 8 years earlier? Yes.
Did you have notes about the meeting? No says Soave.
Any other record of the meeting? Written down asks Soave? No answers Soave.
Without info from McCann and Levin you wouldn't have been prepared to talk to Kilpatrick? No they were the onesw filling me in says Soave.
11:51AM Gurewitz introducing 2 new exhibits.
First document is from March 14th 2002. Letter to Kwame Kilpatrick signed by Anthony Soave. Soave requests a meeting to discuss a number of issues. The letter is a follow-up to the mayor's converstaion with Kathleen McCann. First, Soave discusses his company's commitment to the city. Soave offered cab space to advance "Cops, Kids, Clean" initiatives.
Second topic of letter is a company called Strong steel Products, scrap metal processing comany. Needed the city's endorsement on an outstanding compliance issue with federal government. They were asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Then letter refers to contract CS 1325 that preceded 1368. Seems to have been a problem with Inland not getting paid.
Soave getting irritated. Says he doesn't remember all this.
The last item on the letter is contract 1368. This is what Soave went to see the mayor about. Talks about how 1368 will replave 1325. Last line says "It is our understanding that the Mayor's office may have some questions regarding the contract that we may be able to answer."
Gurewitz says if this letter was prepared for you, this was about 5 weeks you went to see the Mayor? OK says Soave.
You would expect if someone prepared this letter they did it accurately? I would assume so.
Soave says I don't even know who prepared this.
Now publishing an internal memo from March 22nd 2002 to Soave from a Susan Johnson, an inhouse attorney for Soave. Johnson an environmental attorney who would help them with contracts. Sunject line indicates contract 1368.
The memo indicates that contract 1368 is supposedly being held up in Mayor's Office. The memo says they have heard through several sources and that supposedly the deputy director Gary Fujita was going to talk to the Mayor.
This contract talks are really intense? Yes agrees Soave.
So Ms. Johnson is reporting things from other people? Yes says Soave.
Johnson indicates in letter that according to sources the hold up has to do with Charlie Williams and "other supposedly more deserving contractors." In particular, Bobby Ferguson and Frank Torrey as the more deserving contractors.
The memo says that basically contracts for people who supported Gil Hill are being held up.
Soave says these are details that would definitely get through to him.
Johnson says in memo that Derrick Miller says he has never heard about contracts and that's a lie because Gary Fujita talked to him about it. Johnson worries that if the contract is not released to them soon, it will have to be re-bid.
The memo mentions how Inland has already invoiced more than $291,000 for a job that hasn't already officially been granted.
Soave a little irritated says he doesn't know why he is being asked about things he can't remember. Says these are questions that should be addressed to Ms. Johnson.
Memo conclusion: "Basically we need to know what are the issues and what do we need to do to get the contracts on through the City Council."
12:16PM Judge calls for 5 minute break.
12:29PM Gurewitz brings back the document which shows that 1368 has been approved by City council.
Like Rataj, asks witness if he sees Kilpatrick's signature?
Government objects and judge tells him to move on.
"I don't have dementia," says Soave when Gurewitz questions his memory.
Gurewitz says with regards to memory of meeting with mayor. Soave says he went to ask about the contract.
Soave says he heard it was sitting on the mayor's desk.
Gurewitz says it wasn't true because that is not how the process worked. Soave says that Kilpatrick seemed to know it was being held up at their meeting.
Gurewitz is asking about how good Soave's memory is about the words that were being used.
Gurewitz says Soave first appeared before grannd jury in 2010, reviewed that testimony and has gone over things in advance. soave says he has gone over it a few times.
Soave agrees with Gurewitz that he doesn't remember all the words.
Gurewitz says the mayor did not say that if you do not use a particular contractor you won't get that work? Soave say he did not say that.
Gurewitz says what you said in an answer to a grand jury question you said that the mayor never said that if you didn't use Bobby Ferguson you wouldn't get any work? No says Soave slightly confused like the rest of us listening to that triple negative question.
Gurewitz says you thought it was implied you had to use a particular contract? Wasn't implied says Soave. "What I knew when I left there that I had to use Bobby Ferguson." Soave says the mayor said that he "had the wrong contractor."
Gurewitz refers back to Soave's answer in grand jury testimony. Gurewitz wants to know if it was implied or explicitly said that he had to use Bobby. In grand jury testimony Soave said it was implied.
Gurewitz asks if Soave knew if all the contract steps had been taken. No I did not know says Soave.
Gurewitz says you had been around the city a long time and could assess what the safest thing for you to do was? Soave says I don't know what that means.
Gurewitz says you concluded what was in you best interest and told McCann and Levin. Soave reiterates that when he left there the mayor and told him to use Bobby Ferguson.
Gurewitz says you met one on one with Mayor many different occasions? Yes.
You were with him on your airplane? Yes.
There were occcasions when kilpatrick went to your house? Yes.
In Grosse Pointe? Yes.
How many times did you get together? 2 or 3 times.
Watched tv together in your living room? Yes.