Kilpatrick on Trial: Day 44
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.
9:15 AM: New witness to start things off with today:
The judge tells the jury to "hang in there," prior to a holiday break.
And here is the new witness: Bernard Parker.
Employment: President, BP3 and Associates "strategic development" in Detroit since 2009.
He's a business development person, lobbyist.
Client base includes: CONTRACTORS.
Focus, municipal contracts.
Employment history: City of Detroit, 1995 Law Department, moved to human rights department 1998-2000.
Dealt with Detroit based small business certification.
9:46 AM: The government has one of it's witnesses on the stand right now.
A young man named Bernard Parker III.
His resume is impressive, working in the private sector and with city government during the time Kwame Kilpatrick was mayor of Detroit.
Parker has insider information on how the city was being run at that time.
He's like a detective.
He was working to get business for a contractor who was also working with Bobby Ferguson.
A big chunk of money needed for a job wasn't being approved by the city.
Parker says he did the legwork to find out what was going on with this money.
He says he was led all the way to Kilpatrick's office, that the mayor was holding up the money.
He describes a tense pow-wow at Ferguson enterprises, where contractors on a big job and were furious with Ferguson and his people for not doing the work he was paid for and not buying the materials needed for the job that he was paid for.
The topic of the extra money needed for the job came up and Ferguson, a contractor said that amendment wouldn't move unless he got more money.
A big wig for one of the contractors turned to Parker when Ferguson left the room and was in shock saying "That's extortion! That's blackmail."
Kwame Kilpatrick is staring daggers at this kid.
He hasn't flinched just listening to him lay out what he says happened, chapter and verse.
10:24 AM: INSITUFORM backed away and wanted nothing to do with Ferguson and this money being "held up."
Parker says he had a parking lot confrontation with Ferguson, Parker saying he was upset, with Ferguson taking this action, his own people contracted out to Insituform would be fired.
Parker says Detroiters with families were going to get hurt.
He says Ferguson was angry. That Parker was going against him and "the boss." He says the "boss" is Kilpatrick.
He also says Ferguson accused him of going against him, an African American and siding with "white folks."
Kilpatrick signed the amendment. 12/23/05.
A new contract is now being discussed.
A $75 Million deal water department contract to deal with the "Baby Creek" project.
Parker with working with Walbridge Aldinger at the time.
Walbridge submitted the second lowest bid of $73,106,728.00
It then dropped it's bid to over $69 Million and became the lowest bidder, but another firm, Walsh was in the lead to get the deal. Walsh is based in Chicago, not Detroit.
But Parker says Walbridge is Detroit based and he went to find out why they weren't being considered.
Parker met with Derrick Miller, Kwame Kilpatrick's right hand man at the mayor's office at the time.
Parker says he remembers their exchange this way:
Miller: "Is Bobby in on the deal. He's not qualified to do it.
Parker: "He looked at me and said, well see if you can put him in on the deal, BP."
Parker says he was there to make sure the bid process was done properly, not to get Bobby Ferguson work.
10:43 AM: Back in session and right to a side-bar.
10:53 Chutkow continues Direct Testimony of Bernard F. Parker III - Walbridge decided to include Bobby Ferguson in the Baby Creek Project (PC-748) because it was felt, this was the only way they would get the project.
Ron Housman VP Walbridge Aldinger, hand-wrote a cartoonish contract breakdown totaling $12.73 million dollars This is what Ferguson would get if Waldbridge got the contract. Parker said this is highly unusual.
Brian Cruickshank wrote a letter that said Ferguson only got the job because a "high level official" in the city got it for him.
Ferguson confronted Parker in the parking lot of his church yelling expletives and was concerned about the letter "getting out" and causing him "issues." Parker was concerned that the letter might get out in the media. Parker's major concern was because it was illegal, and wanted Cruickshank to recant the letter.
He was further concerned that Walbridge might not get anymore work if Kilpatrick saw the letter because Fergusons and the mayor were friends.
In a meeting at Mosaic in Greektown, Parker spoke with Bobby Ferguson, Joe Shelton, and Calvin Hall about Oakwood CSO Project ($150m) Ferguson wanted 35% of the deal, but Ferguson would not provide bonding. Bobby Ferguson said Victor Mercado would give Ron Housman of Walbridge a call.
Feb 10, 2007 Kilpatrick Calendar notes a meeting with John Rakolton CEO of Walbridge at the Manoogian Mansion. During this time the bid date was delayed by Ferguson in order to get FEI included in the deal. Parker testifies this should be an "open process" and not controlled by a contractor.
Parker went to work for xcel in 2007 (Ferguson's Company) as a business developer. He worked on registering xcel as a small business for government funding advantages. Evelyn calls for a side-bar.
Back in session - Ferguson had "legal issues" in the SBA Registration, as a result Ferguson made Mike Woodhouse the President of xcel. Parker testifies Bobby Ferguson still made all the decisions and was in control of xcel. Ferguson had the biggest office and hired and fired people.
During CM -2014 Project, Ferguson sent Parker to talk with Tom Hardiman of Lakeshore Engineering and "go put your foot in his a**" and tell him "they ain't going to get Sh** from the city unless they pay" Ferguson $80K. Parker felt it was illegal and wrong, but did it anyway.
Rachmale of LES was upset but told Tom Hardiman to write a check for $12K. Ferguson was upset with the $12K and told Parker "this scary mother f***** owes me $80K and you bring me $12K!!! Parker just looked at him like he was crazy.
In a memo from Parker to Derrick Miller Parker tells Miller, Ferguson would be a part of any contract they were awarded. Parker knew this was an advantage in any city bid.
Ferguson had a dispute with Eric Simmon of E&T Trucking on the CM-2014 Project. Ferguson brought Simmons in on the contract and wanted a fee. Ferguson directed Parker to go the Detroit Human Rights Department where Parker used to work "speak with your snitches" and Pull Simmons city certification. The effect of this would limit Simmons ability to get any work in the city. Parker refused to do this and Ferguson again called Parker a "Scary Mother F*****, you work for me and you do what I tell you." Parker just looked at him like he was crazy.
12:10PM Some really interesting testimony from Bernard Parker this morning. This man has worked just about everywhere in the city from Walbridge Aldinger to Ferguson's Xcel Construction to the Detroit's Human Rights Department.
Jim Thomas will be cross-examining first.
12:13PM Thomas says we have never met. Witness says he has met Thomas several times, 3 or 4. Including smoking a cigar together at Lacosta after the Hutaree case.
Parker says he worked in the city's law department for 3 years and in the human rights department with Kim Harris.
Parker agrees that he has worked both inside and outside of government. Agrees that he made many contacts in the city government. Also agrees that he leveraged his city contacts once he left city government.
Parker says that as a business developer for Walbridge Aldinger he occasionally liaised with city departments: DWSD, human rights, DBA and DDA. this was how he cultivated potential for new business.
Parker says he would review bids to make sure that appropriate information had been put in the bids.
Parker says he is not understanding Thomas's questions so Thomas reformulates his questions.
Kwame writing notes that he passes to Michael Naughton, one of his lawyers, who reads them and passes on to Thomas.
Witness still confused by Thomas's questions. To be honest, so am I.
Parker says that if he saw something that gave him pause on a proposal, he wouldn't hesitate to call the city's law or human rights department.
Thomas asks what would you have done when working with Walbridge if you thought something was wrong with another company's certification. Parker says he would call human rights, contracts and grants departments.
Parker agrees that he knew what the rules were at the city's human rights department. But doe not agree with Thomas that he could arbitrarily ask for a company to be decertified. Parker says the human rights department would have to do its own analysis and then send it to law department to be vetted.
Thomas says human rights could look into whether a company looking to do work in Detroit could be decertified. Parker says absolutely.
Thomas asks if witness knew that Kwame was running for reelection in 2005. Yes says witness. Parker says he supported the mayor in his reelection campaign. He was aware that mayor lost the primary in August 2005. Parker was engaged in campaigning for Kwame. Parker says he doesn't remember how many points Kilpatrick was in the weeks leading up to the election.
Parker doesn't remember budget discussions in the campaign. He remembers the city having a somewhat robust year.
Parker remembers labor dispute negotiations surrounding police and fire departments.
Thomas asks if Parker observed mayor's managerial style. "When did I work with him?" asks the witness. Parker says he never had any direct contact with Kilpatrick.
Thomas asking if witness remembers things going on after Thomas was elected and before he took office. Thomas seems to be saying that Kilpatrick was very preoccupied and busy around this time, too much to be involved in what was going on behind the scenes.
Looking at DWSD 1368 transmittal document for Amendment #4.
Thomas asking Parker to discuss the many "hoops" that must be gone through in order to have amendments made. Parker complies with a nice, long explanation. Sometimes takes a few weeks and sometimes it takes much longer to be completed.
Thomas says you are aware that city council can approve contracts. Yes sir says witness.
"Do you see Mr.Kilpatrick's signature anywhere on the document?" asks Thomas. No sir says Parker.
Parker says he was with Insituform when contract 1368 was ongoing. At Insituform they had heard the rumors that the contract was just sitting on the mayor's desk.
"You recognize that sometimes rumors are not true?" asks Thomas. Yes sir say Parker.
Looking at the special administrator order 2005-33. Parker knew that mayor could grant contracts through special administrative orders.
Thomas says that Insituform was coming at the end of its fiscal year and was expecting reimbursement on 1368. Yes says Parker.
Looking at internal email on December 19th 2005 at Insituform about amendment #4 on 1368. Thomas says at the end of the year the company would want to generate whatever revenue they could. Parker agrees. Thomas says that Insituform thought that final ratifications needed mayor's sign-off.
Thomas asks witness if he is a mind reader. Parker says he is a great business developer.
Thomas says Paul Meschino who wrote the Insituform email was operating on a rumor.
Thomas says that board approving amendments has nothing to do with payments going out because there were still hoops to go through. Parker agrees.
Looking at the special administrative order for the amendment #4 to 1368. Kilpatrick authorizes it by signature on December 23 2005.
Going back to Meschino email from December 19th 2005 where he voices concerns about getting paid for amendment #4. Meschino is writing off the project before mayor signs off on December 23rd.
Thomas says on December 23rd there were 3 people running for re-election in city council and that there was historical difficulty for Kilpatrick to get through city council. Thomas says the fact they were "lame duck", running for re-election may have caused a delay in activities.
Chutkow objects. Judge says she doesn't know how the witness can speculate what was going on in the heads of city council.
Thomas says special administrative orders meant to be quicker to get through the delays of city council. Parker agrees.
Thomas asking about election recount. Parker wasn't aware there was one in December.
It wasn't officially announced that Kilpatrick was mayor until December 23rd. Thomas's point being that he wasn't really in a position to sign anything until then.
Judge says that's enough for today. We'll pick it up again tomorrow at 9AM.
Read previous testimony: Kilpatrick trial day 43