Friend of Detroit’s Former Dem Mayor Indicted for Extortion

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REPORTER: Last November, FBI agents hauled away more than a dozen pieces of Bobby Ferguson's expensive construction equipment.

GERALD EVELYN: You're always surprised when the government does something like this. But, you know, they're doing what they can do to put a man who is already out of business further out of business.

REPORTER: At the same time, the feds seized more than $460,000 from Ferguson’s various bank accounts and cashier's checks. Now we know why. In this search warrant affidavit that was unsealed Thursday, FBI agents allege the money in the accounts and the funds used to purchase the construction equipment are all tied to the extortion and money-laundering charges that Ferguson is facing.

A grand jury indicted Ferguson, his long-time friend former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Kilpatrick's father, Bernard Kilpatrick, and former water department head, Victor Mercado, on federal racketeering charges. They're accused of running something called the Kilpatrick Enterprise to enrich themselves through bid rigging and extortion. Former Kilpatrick aide Derek Miller has already cut a plea deal in exchange for cooperating with the federal prosecutors. According to court records, as a result of illegal conduct by Ferguson and others, Ferguson obtained over $58.5 million. The search warrant affidavit alleges Ferguson extorted other water department contractors and then Ferguson used those illegal funds to set up college accounts for his four children, buy construction equipment, and cut cashier's checks to a woman the feds describe as Ferguson's employee and girlfriend. The affidavit also details complicated money transfers between various Ferguson bank accounts. Agents also allege that Ferguson used his wife's company to hide some of the money that the 43-year-old illegally obtained from another contractor.

REPORTER: Now in the past, Ferguson's attorney has said the warrants used to seize some of his assets were inaccurate and misleading, but so far he is not commenting on these new details. Ferguson and Kilpatrick go to trial in September.

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