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U.S. Wants Ex-Detroit Mayor, Friend To Pay $9.6 Million

8:12 AM, Oct 8, 2013   |    comments
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick leaves federal court after being found guilty Monday Feb. 11, 2013. Kilpatrick was convicted on 24 of 30 counts, including five counts of extortion, racketeering, bribery and several mail, wire and tax fraud charges. (Photo: Andre J. Jackson, Detroit Free Press)
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By Ann Zaniewski , Detroit Free Press

DETROIT -- Federal prosecutors want former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his contractor friend Bobby Ferguson to pay more than $9 million in restitution connected to the public corruption scandal that rocked City Hall.

The government is seeking a judgment of $9,654,553, an amount that represents the total proceeds Kilpatrick and Ferguson received from racketeering conspiracy and extortion offenses, prosecutors wrote in documents filed Monday in federal court. The request comes just days before both men are to be sentenced.

Prosecutors said the figure is a "conservative money judgment" that is "the low end of Ferguson's estimated profits" - in lieu of the more than $73 million in contract revenues they could be required to forfeit as a result of the RICO violation.,

"In a complex racketeering case involving a pay-to-play system of obtaining municipal contracts, as is the case here, some of those victimized also willingly participated in pay-to-play as a cost of doing business, thereby shutting out other contractors who did not want to participate in a tainted system like this," prosecutors wrote. "However, it is beyond question that the City of Detroit and its citizens were the clear-cut victims of the defendants' crimes."

Ferguson and Kilpatrick have been locked up since March, when a jury convicted the pair of running what the government described as a criminal enterprise involving bid-rigging, extortion and bribery.

The government said Kilpatrick helped Ferguson pocket illegal profits stemming from crooked contracts.

Ferguson, the government argued, then shared the money with Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick was found guilty of 24 counts.

He will be sentenced Thursday before U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds, with prosecutors seeking a prison term of at least 28 years.

Ferguson, who was convicted of nine counts, will be sentenced Friday.

Prosecutors have asked for a sentence of up to 28 years.

Kilpatrick's attorneys have asked in court documents for a 15-year sentence.

"There was no evidence that (Kilpatrick) received this amount of extorted money from Mr. Ferguson, there was no evidence that (Kilpatrick) knew how much Mr. Ferguson was seeking or receiving from the city vendors, there was no evidence presented at trial that this $9-plus million amount represents Mr. Ferguson's 'profits,' " Kilpatrick attorney Harold Gurewitz wrote in a court filing last week.

Gurewitz and Ferguson's lawyer, Mike Rataj, could not be reached Monday.

Last week, the government filed documents saying Ferguson's phone conversations with a girlfriend and relative while in prison indicate that he has been trying to hide assets.

Ferguson and Kilpatrick have argued that they're broke.

In March, Ferguson agreed to forfeit construction vehicles, nearly $500,000, a home on Bretton Drive in Rosedale Park and a condo at the Riverfront Towers on West Jefferson.

Contributing: Free Press reporter Tresa Baldas


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