DETROIT (WXYZ) - Earlier today, 7 Action News Investigator Ross Jones blogged from day 27 of the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption case. Follow along below:
10:57--The end: Ending a little early today folks. This is it for the week...and the next, too. The trial is off all of next week for Thanksgiving, so we'll all have another chance to recharge our batteries. For the defendants, I'd imagine they have to wonder if this could be their last Thanksgiving as free men.
10:54--Paid...for work! For the first time today, we've been shown a check that Rachmale says was paid to Ferguson for work that was actually performed (before, it was all no-work jobs). A $252,000 check was made out to Ferguson Enterprises in November 2007 for sewer repair.
10:52--Silent partner: Rachmale says that Ferguson kept his name off a proposal submitted by Lakeshore for a city gig, because he didn't want the city to know he was involved in the project. That's because he was already seeking work for a "companion job" in the city that prohibited him from being on both projects.
10:40--Ferguson fuming: Rachmale recalls how Ferguson threatened to kill his city jobs if he wasn't given a larger piece of a contract that Rachmale's company had received for water mains under city streets.
"He wanted to do some work, we wanted to give him some, but he wanted all the streets," Rachmale said.
"He said numerous times, 'I will shut down your job,' " Rachmale recalls, saying that Ferguson would use the f-word.
10:38--Body language: It's interesting to watch Ferguson lawyer Mike Rataj during Rachmale's testimony. For those that don't know, Rataj is a bit of a bulldog and his mood often ranges from furious to exceptionally furious.
As Rachmale testifies, Rataj can be seen shaking his head in disagreement and looking rather, uh, ticked off.
10:36--Total: All told, Ferguson's company was paid close to $800,000 for management fees.
"Did you get any meaningful work for that $700,000 to $800,000?" Chutkow asked.
"No," Rachmale asked.
But, Rachmale added, his contracts were never canceled.
10:32--Management fees: Chutkow is showing the jury a $200,000 check written in August 2008 (while Kwame Kilpatrick's resignation seemed imminent) from Lakeshore to Xcel Construction Services, a Ferguson company. What was it for?
"Management fees I did not receive any management for," Rachmale says.
10:26--Ferguson complains: At a lunch meeting, Rachmale says Ferguson told him that his colleague Thomas Hardiman "wasn't being fair," and that it would "hurt his company."
"Every time they would come asking for their fees, Hardiman would get upset, he would call them parasites," Rachmale says.
"Bobby Ferguson did not like that, and he wanted to talk to me about that."
10:23--Heartburn: Rachmale says that on days when Ferguson would send a representative to pick up some of the management fees, his colleague Thomas Hardiman became physically upset, even having heartburn.
"I told him to pay the management fees, move on," Rachmale said.
10:20--Our team is ready: Rachmale says he pushed back, telling Ferguson that "our team is ready" and he did not need any additional management services, but he ultimately relented and gave him a piece of the management fees.
10:14--Management company: After Rachmale's team won the bid, he says Ferguson told him that he wanted Excel Construction (a company he owned) to do the management services for the contract.
"He told me, 'You need some help on the management side,' " Rachmale recalls.
He said he didn't think he needed any help, and saw no benefit in Ferguson overseeing the work and splitting the management fee with Ferguson.
He says Ferguson suggested that Rachmale shoudl cut back on the number of engineers on the project so that he could pay Ferguson management fees.
10:08--Ferguson on both: When it came time to submit a bid for a water main job, Rachmale says he was sure to include one of Bobby Ferguson's companies on his team. But here was the catch: the job was so big, it was split into two different projects, and companies were told they couldn't be on both.
Rachmale decided it was in his company's interest to have Ferguson on his team, but had a complication: Ferguson was also seeking a job for the second-half of the water main job. So, Ferguson's other company E&T Trucking submitted the bid for Rachmale's team, to conceal his involvement in the second company.
This is a bit confusing, but essentially Rachmale is saying that Ferguson tried to hide his involvement in E&T so that he could have a piece of both water main contracts.
9:57--Happy days: Things are getting pretty chummy in the courtroom as everyone enjoys the break. Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard and Bobby Ferguson are standing at the end of the defense table, laughing and smiling from ear to ear. Their lawyers, on the other side of the table, seem much more subdued.
And our five minute break? It seems to have grown.