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.
8:50AM It will be an abbreviated day for us today at the US District courthouse. Judge Nancy Edmunds announced yesterday that we will be ending today at 12:30pm as well as Thursday. Not sure why but I am not complaining.
Word has it that Bobby Ferguson's lawyer Susan Van Dusen will be rejoining the courtroom this morning. Van Dusen had a nasty fall last week when she slipped on a mat outside the courtroom and pitched forward face first onto the hard marble floor. The poor woman has been plagued by headaches and has been making visits to a neurologist. Hoping that she is feeling much. much better.
We will likely start off the morning with the cross-examination of government witness Tyrone Clifton, a project manager with the Detroit Building Authority (DBA), by Gerald Evelyn, another lawyer for Ferguson. Clifton testified yesterday that he was called by fellow witness LaJuan Wilks, a former employee of the Detroit Recreational department, who told him she feared Ferguson was threatening her job.
9:03AM Video turns on and there is Susan Van Dusen in a wine-colored sweater wrap. The court stenographer just got up to give her a great big hug.
Van Dusen was cross-examining executive Kathleen McCann last Monday before her accident. I wonder if she will continue her cross after the defense finishes with Clifton.
We've just been informed by a court officer that a juror has been delayed due to an accident on I-94. May be another 15 minutes or so before we can get started. Let's hope it's earlier than that.
Prosecutors and defense counsel have all just gotten up likely headed to judge's chambers. That leaves behind Kwame Kilpatrick, Ferguson, Bernard Kilpatrick and a gentleman who accompanies Ferguson every day that I can only describe as a "handler."
wyers just filtered back into the courtroom. No sign of Judge Edmunds yet.
9:26AM Judge Edmunds entered the courtroom but Kwame just bolted out the door. Jim Thomas, his lawyer, tells the judge he'll be back in a second. Witness Tyrone Clifton is standing by the witness stand getting ready to continue his testimony. Kwame is back and so is jury. Judge welcomes Van Duson back to the courtroom.
9:29AM Gerald Evelyn begins cross-examination of Clifton. Clifton confirms he was the project manager on the Heilmann project. Clifton says he has been with the DBA since July 1st 2002, previous to that he worked in the construction industry. He ran his own construction company.
Clifton agrees that he works with contractors a lot and that sometimes he needs to be aggressive with contractors. Says he has yelled at contractors and they have yelled at him. "It comes with the job." Clifton says usually he does the yelling. He has never yelled at Bobby Ferguson though. Clifton says in his experience architects usually need to get pushed. Witness found Michael Woodhouse and Calvin Hall of Xcel Construction to be effective. Evelyn speaks so quickly, judge tells him to slow down. "I think fast and talk fast," says Evelyn. Clifton says he had dealt with LaJuan Wilks, another witness in the trial who testified yesterday about her involvement with the Heilmann project and her difficulties with Ferguson. Clifton says he had communications with Wilks on the project. Evelyn asking about the conversation he had with Wilks about her confrontation with Ferguson. Clifton says she stated they were in an argument and it was very heated. Clifton states again she was very upset. Witness told her she had no cause for concern. "I felt she was in no danger of losing her job," says Clifton. Looking at the Request for Proposal for the Heilmann project. States that it is a proposal for the renovation of the Heilmann Recreational Center that is not to exceed $7 million. See list of what the city wanted in the center. Paragraph in the document states that the DBA reserves the right to reject all proposals. DBA doesn't intend to award contracts based on the responses to the RFP. Another paragraph discusses the "economy of preparation", states that presentation should be simple and clear and devoid of fancy binders. Clifton says he would get communication from JOA/Xcel team. He would coordinate activities to get the project moved forward. Looking at a memorandum from April 27th 2004 to the DBA from Michael woodhouse of Xcel regarding Heilmann. Woodhouse waiting for zoning approval which is causing significant delays. Says winter enclosures are going to be pashed which will incur winter heating costs. Asking to expedite zoning approval to reduce additional costs incurred. Clifton doesn't recall the memo but doesn't dispute it. It is something typical of such a project agrees the witness. Another Woodhouse memo on July 1st 2003, looking for DBA budget approval for a $15,000 line item to provide a Level 1 Environmental Assessment. Another hold up to the project. Judge requests a sidebar.
9:50AM Evelyn admits more documents into evidence. Thomas comes up to Evelyn at the podium and whispers in his ear for a moment. Evelyn asks to approach the witness with one of the documents.
Looking at May 9th 2003 memo to La Juan Wilks from Bobby Toliver of Xcel. Addresses a request from Wilks about pool temperature she is asking for. Not sure why this is important.
Clifton says he was satisfied with the results on the Heilmann Recreational facility. Evelyn asks if it was a nice facility.
"It was alright," says the witness. He steps down.
9:55AM FBI agent Bob Beeckman is back on the stand yet again. Jennifer Blackwell for the government. She has just introduced a bunch of things into evidence which I can only assume are all texts. Blackwell asking about texts on Heilmann. Talking about Wilks's boss Vincent Anwunah who answered to Lee Stephenson, deputy director of the city rec department, and before that to a Mr. Hautau.
Text message between Ferguson and Anwunah. April 16th 2003.
FE:Heilmann rec center is it a design building and when is it coming out.
A: Yes, it is design build it will be coming out this week or next.
F:I need to talk to you first is Dick gone.
A: Yes Dick is gone as far as decision making.
F: Ok we need to meet on the project.
Dick refers to Dick Hautau, Anwunah's boss.
Text exchange between Beatty and Ferguson. June 10th 2003