Defense: Kilpatrick could not intimidate billionaire Tony Soave

Defense team argues businessman Tony Soave was not intimidated by, force to do things for former Detroit mayor

By Kevin Dietz - Reporter

DETROIT - Tony Soave never met a politician he did not want to take care of.

Soave grew his business from a start-up construction company into a billion-dollar enterprise. Along the way, he made friends with governors, county executives and mayors in Michigan.


Because it was good for business.

Read more: Previous mayors didn't hold up contracts

However, in Detroit federal court on Thursday, Soave was asked it former Detroit mayor Dennis Archer forced him to work with specific contractors or demanded gifts and free flights. Soave's answer: Absolutely not.

"It paints Denis Archer in a good picture, in a good light. And it tried to make Tony, Mr. Soave look good as well," said Local 4 legal expert Todd Flood.

Soave gave defendant Bobby Ferguson $30 million in work during the years Kwame Kilpatrick held office. He flew Kilpatrick on $300,000 worth of private jet flights and spent tens of thousands of dollars on watches, hotels and sporting events tickets for the former mayor.

The defense says Soave has 50 companies doing $2.5 billion a year and three private jets. The defense says the businessman is not someone who gets pushed around and was no victim of Kwame Kilpatrick.

Read more: Defense says Soave too rich to be intimidated by Kilpatrick

"I don't think Mr. Soave is intimidated by anybody, and I think he admitted that," said defense attorney Mike Rataj.

The defense scored points on Thursday telling jurors it's not the mayor who approves water contracts and that Soave had no personal knowledge of Kilpatrick interfering with contracts despite the gains.

The jury heard Tony Soave say at least a dozen times Kwame Kilpatrick told him he had to hire Bobby Ferguson.

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