DETROIT – 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.
9AM - Carol Paszkiewicz is expected to resume her testimony this morning - we left off yesterday with discussion of a Ferguson Construction document which is alleged to have been altered. The document in question is a daily report form created by Ferguson supposedly from the first day of the Sterling Heights sinkhole, which showed Ferguson employees worked a full day when other documents indicate they only dropped off some equipment at around 6pm. All the attorneys are currently in the judge's chambers discussing the issue of admissibility and the expertise of Agent Paszkiewicz to interpret a forged document.
9:14 AM - Attorneys emerge from the judge's chambers. Agent Carol Paszkiewicz is back on the stand - all issues appear to be resolved. Paszkiewicz is describing the steps she took in her investigation of the FEI document in question. We are now seeing a FEI Document which Paszkiewicz is characterizing as a "proper" or "typical" FEI Daily Field Record. That "proper" document is now being compared to the alleged altered Daily Field Record. The Government now produces another FEI Daily Field Report that appears to be the "original" report from which the "altered" document was copied. It appears the date was changed from a 3 to an 8, it also appears several numbers have been altered or eliminated. DWSD Daily Records indicate Ferguson was not on site at the time the FEI Daily Field Reports claim.
Ferguson's Attorney Michael Rataj comes in to Cross examine Agent Paszkiewicz.
Rataj makes it clear Paszkiewicz is not a document expert. Paszkiewicz was not on the scene at the sinkhole at the time, and didn't know the location of all the Ferguson Employees on that day. Ok. All done? Nope - now comes Walter Rozicky project manager for Inland Waters.
He was on the scene at the sinkhole. Mr. Rozicky testifies Ferguson was not on site until 9/14/2004.
Ferguson employees came the next day 9/15/2004.
This supports the allegations of the Government. Government Attorney Jennifer Blackwell pulls out the previous documents for Mr. Rozicky review.
Rozicky testifies Ferguson had not been on site prior to 9/14/2004. Blackwell shows Rozicky an invoice from FEI sent on 10/1/2004.
This invoice is for the sinkhole project, where repairs were claimed to have been made by FEI on 3/23/2004 - which could not have happened because Rozicky indicates the sinkhole didn't form until October. Now the Daily Field Report in question. Rozicky indicates he had never seen this document before today.
He gets a laser pointer and shows the inconsistent and missing information. Side by side analysis of an older Daily Field Report document and the "altered" document indicate they are the same document.
All the hours and equipment are the same. The only difference is the date. Rataj comes to cross and points out Rozicky is not an expert document examiner. The defense is field reports are filled out by guys in the field and sometimes they make mistakes - oopsy. Rozicky wasn't everywhere on the job site - up stream or downstream. Rataj asked if he remembers what he was wearing back in 2004?
Rozicky responded with "bluejeans" which got a laugh. Rataj claims there is no way Rozicky could know everything that was happening on the job site.
Rozicky said he had photographs of the job site back during the project. Rataj is not interested in the photos. Blackwell recross - Rozicky had reviewed the photos from the site back in 2004 and can say with confidence that Ferguson was not on the site before 9/14/2004.- 20 minute break.
11AM - Back from the break.
Odell Jones takes the stand - Eric Doeh on direct. Owner of Jomar Construction Detroit based firm. Also, Manger of a Detroit Public Schools Renovation Program. This program included the Taft Schultz School Project in which Bobby Ferguson was a contractor. FEI had a dispute with a firm called Turner Construction who was the project management. Jones met with Ferguson to try and mediate the dispute.
The dispute was about Ferguson overcharging on the project. In the meeting at FEI Headquarters on Wyoming, Jones claims Ferguson told Jones to "go on strong black man" in reference to Jones attempt to "get to the bottom" of the dispute. Jones thought Ferguson "was just being silly."
During the meeting in Fergusons office, Jones noticed photos of Ferguson with Mayor Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty. Jones tries to make it clear that the issue of Taft Schultz Project needed to be resolved. After the meeting, Ferguson wrote a letter about the meeting which was copied to Mayor Kilpatrick.
Jones was disturbed by the fact that the Mayor was brought into this dispute and returned to the Ferguson HQ to voice his dismay. Jones indicates it was improper to use the relationship between Kilpatrick and Ferguson in a construction dispute.
Moving on to the Book Cadillac Renovation - Jones was part of the evaluation committee who chose contractors for the project. In Jones opinion, Ferguson was not the best qualified for the job but Ferguson got it in-spite of that fact.
Once the project began in 2003, The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality showed-up on-site and began writing citations for improper asbestos handling procedures and containment. Jones got into his car and drove to the site.
We are now seeing a letter of violation written by the MDEQ to the owners of the Book Cadillac - seven violations were cited, including unsafe levels suspected asbestos containing materials in the air. Jones spoke with Ferguson about the violations and Ferguson was not concerned.
Ferguson told Jones he had become a "punk and a puppet for the white man."
Fergusons suggested he could call the Mayor and ask him to call the Governor.
Jones didn't think the violations were a political matter.
Jones further explained Ferguson had no concern for his workers who were not trained or outfitted to protect themselves from the harmful effects of asbestos exposure.
After the Book Cadillac Project City work for Jones and his company dried-up. Jones made several attempts to contact the mayor and met with Ferguson, but he still did not get more work.
Jones donated $10,000 to the Manogian Mansion Restoration Fund, and was a supporter of Mayor Kilpatrick but none of it helped him get any city work.
Text between Ferguson and Kilpatrick indicate Jones tried to contact Kilpatrick's Mother and sister - Ferguson sent a text to Kilpatrick: Odel Jones called your Moma. Kilpatrick: yeah, I know.
Biting bugs have been reported in the courtroom by the judge - they either fly or jump. Several jurors have been bitten, so sprays may be applied.
- Gerald Evelyn begins his cross. Evelyn establishes that Jones is an African American Male and his business is no longer in operation. Good job.
Next revelation is that Jones didn't pursue business with the City of Detroit, Jones does not agree. Evelyn produces a document of former testimony to the FBI where Jones indicated his major projects were with Ford and he didn't really go after city work.
On to the photos in Fergusons office, the pictures had nothing to do with the project. The Mayor had nothing to do with the project? Jones was "the tempest in the teapot" according to Evelyn.
Evelyn asks Jones to produce the letter that was sent by Ferguson and copied to Kilpatrick. Jones does not have a copy of the letter. Evelyn questions why Jones got a letter that was not addressed to him. The letter was addressed to Turner Construction.
The premise is that Ferguson was showing his connections with the mayor and trying to get Jones off his back.
Jones indicated he has frequently been offered to be a minority front for white business but, that he has never allowed this arrangement for him or his company.
Evelyn is displaying the MDEQ violations which it appears put the responsibility on the management and no violation was written for unprotected workers.
Since the Book was built, we can assume the violations were taken care of so say the defense. "Well, the book was built" agreed Jones.
Letters from the MDEQ show each violation and how they were ultimately dealt with.
A new work plan dated 7/9/03 from FEI seems to address proper handling of hazardous materials.
Done for the day.
Cross will continue tomorrow.