Water department official testifies about Ferguson deals

Detroit water department official testifies about ballooning Ferguson deals

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DETROIT -- Last week, Kwame Kilpatrick and his loot was in the government's crosshairs.  Monday, prosecutors raised questions about how Bobby Ferguson got city deals and why, once he got them, their costs kept going higher.

Outside of court, Ferguson didn't want to talk about his city deals, but water department official Daniel Edwards had plenty to say.

For starters, he said Ferguson Enterprises was near the bottom of the pack when Detroit water officials rated bid proposals back in 2004.  However, that didn't stop the mayor's best bud from getting a piece of the action.

Edwards testified Monday that Ferguson's company scored two deals despite their subpar proposals.  Edwards said city officials even changed the way they rated bids to be sure Ferguson got city work.

Ferguson was supposed to get a small part of a water main contract on Broadway, but in the end he got a whole lot more.

Edwards said change orders ballooned the amount Ferguson was paid on two contracts.  In one case, the original cost of more than $800,000 grew to more than $3.1 million.  Another deal swelled from more than $720,000 to more than $1.7 million.

Prosecutors say one way Kilpatrick steered work to his pal was by manipulating special powers he gained through federal oversight of the water department.

Monday was also the first time water department chief Victor Mercado's name came up.  Prosecutors believe he helped the mayor and Ferguson get contracts he wasn't entitled to.

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