Tony Soave testifies Kilpatrick told him to hire Ferguson - KMSP-TV

Tony Soave testifies Kilpatrick told him to hire Ferguson

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DETROIT (WJBK) -

Tony Soave testified Wednesday Kwame Kilpatrick told him which subcontractor to hire.  It was another devastating day of testimony against the former mayor, but will it hold up?

Soave is a man who knows his way around Detroit's contracting scene, but even he says he couldn't stand up to Kwame Kilpatrick.

Soave testified that he didn't support Kilpatrick for mayor and with the $50 million contract for his inland waters firm in limbo, he figured it was time for a trip to City Hall.

Prosecutor Michael Bullotta asked Soave what the mayor said.

Soave: He told me I had the wrong subcontractor.  I asked... "What's the right one?"  He told me Ferguson was the right one.

Bullotta: What did you tell him when he said you had the wrong subcontractor?

Soave: I told him okay, I'll make a change.

So Soave dumped a friend's firm and hired Ferguson Enterprises, but he wasn't happy about it.

Soave testified that he finally got fed up with Ferguson when he asked for 50 percent of their next deal.

Over the years, Ferguson has taken great pride in the quality of his work, but Soave testified that their partnership did not always go smoothly.  In fact, he told Bullotta that Ferguson just didn't act like any other subcontractor.

Soave: On occasion, he would say, "You realize you're here because of me."... That did not make us feel good.

Bullotta: Why?

Soave: That sounded like a little threat... I understood what that means.

Soave also testified that he paid for a weeklong stay for the mayor's family at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida, flew the mayor not once, but twice to New York for shopping trips, even picking up the tab for a $6,000 Cartier watch for the mayor's father, provided nearly $400,000 worth of flights from City Airport on his private planes and even bounced for courtside seats when the Pistons won their last championship.  Those ducats cost a cool $10,000.

Prosecutors asked Soave if he ever asked to be repaid.

Bullotta: Did you ever talk to (Kilpatrick) about billing him for the flights?

Soave: I brought up to him that maybe I should be billing him for some of these flights because it was getting be a lot of flights.

Bullotta: What did the mayor say?

Soave: He said he would look into it.

Bullotta: Why did you keep allowing him to use the jets?

Soave: I didn't want him holding another job up, okay?  There was one job held up and I had that in my mind all the time and I didn't want it to happen again.

Defense attorneys will get their shot at Soave on Thursday.  I expect them to hammer Soave as a savvy businessman who played the game and won tens of millions of dollars worth of city contracts in return, once again hoping jurors will find it hard to see some rich guy as a victim.

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