DETROIT (WXYZ) - In the Kilpatrick Corruption trial Tuesday, a city water department manager testified that his boss told him to cancel contracts – a move that helped Bobby Ferguson.
The deputy director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department told the jury in the Kilpatrick Corruption case that his former boss, Victor Mercado, told him to write an email justifying the cancellation of a contract.
Former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick and his friend Bobby Ferguson are all on trial, accused of racketeering and conspiracy.
Darryl Latimer testified that he didn’t think Contract 1361 that had been given to Lakeshore Engineering president Avinash Rachmale needed to be cancelled.
Instead, Latimer said Mercado told him to write an email saying the department would save money if they lumped that contract in with another project already being handled by a company called Inland Waters. Latimer said he was uncomfortable writing the email.
Previous witnesses testified that when Rachmale refused to add Ferguson to contract 1361 – they believed Ferguson had used his friendship with Kilpatrick to kill the deal.
Ferguson ended up working as a subcontractor for Inland – who ultimately got the job that Lakeshore had originally been awarded.
Latimer also testified that at Mercado’s direction on another project, the bids were re-calculated – which Latimer said “didn’t look good.”
Federal prosecutors allege the bids were re-calculated so that Ferguson and Lakeshore would win the deals.
Meanwhile, defense lawyers finished trying to chip away at Rachmale’s credibility this morning – and continued to show business cards and company phone rosters that suggested that someone who worked for the city also worked for Rachmale. Rachmale said the man was his friend, and was only part owner of Rachmale’s building - not an actual employee.
Ferguson’s lead attorney Gerald Evelyn showed the jury that Rachmale made millions off the city while working with Ferguson. But Rachmale maintained that he paid Ferguson out of fear of losing contracts.
Kilpatrick’s attorney Jim Thomas pointed out that Rachmale had jumped to conclusions about why he lost his first contracts – suggesting Rachmale had nothing but suspicion that Kilpatrick was involved.
“It’s a conclusion and if a conclusion is not well thought out, or if the conclusion is based on some bias, or speculation or jealousy or whatever, that conclusion is suspect, so you just have to sit and wait,” said Thomas.
Lawyers are saying that the government may not rest their case until mid-January, which means the trial could last through February.
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