Walbridge letter worried Ferguson, his former employee testifies - FOX 35 News Orlando

Walbridge letter worried Ferguson, his former employee testifies

Posted: Updated:
DETROIT (WJBK) -

A former employee of Bobby Ferguson and other contractors testified Wednesday that Ferguson often threw his weight around to intimidate partners, but there was at least one thing that Ferguson himself was afraid of.

For years, Ferguson boasted that he got city contracts on merit, not because of his friendship with Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

However, business consultant and former Ferguson employee Bernard Parker testified that Kilpatrick aides put Ferguson in city deals and Ferguson used his city hall connections to threaten contractors who didn't give him his way.

Still, an official with Walbridge Aldinger pushed back, reminding Ferguson in a letter that he was only a part of their deal because "Walbridge Aldinger was strongly persuaded by highly-placed city officials to award a substantial portion of the excavation work to Ferguson enterprises."

The official pointed out that Ferguson's price for the job was 23 percent higher than the low bidder Walbridge might have otherwise hired.

Parker testified that the letter infuriated Ferguson, who was afraid reporters might someday read it.

However, Ferguson wasn't the only one fuming.  Attorney Mike Rataj said Judge Nancy Edmunds isn't giving the defense a fair shake.

"For her to prop the government lawyers up every time they can't ask a question properly, for the hearsay, the double and triple hearsay that's coming in, it puts us at a huge disadvantage in this case," he remarked.  "We're all frustrated because this isn't the way that it's supposed to work.  The person that makes the statement's got to come in and testify to it so they can be crossed examined.  That's the bottom line."

The roughneck former college hockey player said the judge's rulings make fighting the case like skating five-on-three, but Rataj isn't giving up just yet.

"As long as we're still playing, I think we can win."

Hearsay testimony has been a big complaint of the defense throughout this trial, but they will get a chance to call those folks in when they put their own case on starting early next year.

Question and Answer

HUEL PERKINS: Judge Nancy Edmunds runs a tight ship.  She may not be happy about Rataj's comments.  What do you think she's going to do?

ELRICK: I think that's putting it mildly.  She's already taken him to the woodshed, or as he may say the penalty box, a couple times in this trial.  I have a feeling that if (she)... hears about this, she will have something to say to Mr. Rataj and it's something that he probably will not want to hear, and we'll see if it could lead to sanctions or some sort of discipline.  It's an open question, one that I think we'll have resolved very soon.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Power outage numbers across southeast Michigan

    Power outage numbers across southeast Michigan

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:01 AM EDT2014-07-28 14:01:04 GMT
    As of 6 a.m., approximately 165,000 DTE Energy customers are out of electric service due to the high winds and lightning that hit southeast Michigan Sunday afternoon. DTE has restored power to 21,000 customers that were affected by the storm, which included wind gusts of up to 70 m.p.h. in the DTE service area.
    As of 6 a.m., approximately 165,000 DTE Energy customers are out of electric service due to the high winds and lightning that hit southeast Michigan Sunday afternoon. DTE has restored power to 21,000 customers that were affected by the storm, which included wind gusts of up to 70 m.p.h. in the DTE service area.
  • Dollar Tree buys Family Dollar

    Dollar Tree buys Family Dollar

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:34 AM EDT2014-07-28 11:34:12 GMT
    Dollar Tree is buying rival discount store Family Dollar in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $8.5 billion.
    Dollar Tree is buying rival discount store Family Dollar in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $8.5 billion.
  • Storm damage in Oakland and Macomb counties

    Storm damage in Oakland and Macomb counties

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:27 AM EDT2014-07-28 10:27:31 GMT
    Damage was reported across Metro Detroit Sunday after severe storms moved across our area. About 200,000 customers lost power in the hail, heavy rain, strong winds, localized flooding and thunder and lightning.
    Damage was reported across Metro Detroit Sunday after severe storms moved across our area. About 200,000 customers lost power in the hail, heavy rain, strong winds, localized flooding and thunder and lightning.
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices