DETROIT (WWJ) – Former Detroit city contractor Bobby Ferguson has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for his role in a city hall corruption scandal.
Before he was sentenced Thursday before Judge Nancy Edmunds, Ferguson read passages from the Bible and railed against how he says the prison system unfairly treats minorities.
He failed, however, to failed to apologize for his crimes.
One of Ferguson’s attorneys, Gerald Evelyn, didn’t even expect his client to address the court.
“I had no idea he was going to speak today,” Evelyn told reporters. “Just like he told the judge, he didn’t know he was going to speak. He originally had planned to say nothing; but because of some things that happened this morning, before he came to court, it just changed his mind.”
Ferguson showed no emotion when the sentence was read, but seemed to have a lot of questions for his lawyers.
This comes after, Thursday, Ferguson’s friend and co-defendant, former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
“The judge noted that Bobby Ferguson muscled contractors and was paid for no work on other contracts,” said WWJ Legal Charlie Langton, “and Bobby Ferguson’s criminal activity only stopped when Kwame Kilpatrick was forced to resign.”
Prosecutors say Kilpatrick was the mastermind of a “pay-to-play” system for the provision of city goods and services which compromised vast swaths of city government, including the water and sewer system, the convention center, the pension system, casino developments and recreation centers.
As outlined in a sentencing memo, pair’s scheme started back before Kilpatrick was even the mayor, when as a state representative he “stole several hundred thousand dollars” in grant money and used it to renovate Ferguson’s office and pay his wife, Carlita Kilpatrick, for a job she didn’t do.
Ferguson is described in the memo as the “catalyst at the center of an historic and unprecedented extortion scheme along with former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.” He’s described as working “hand in glove” with Kilpatrick while he was in office.
If Ferguson serves the full sentence, he’ll be 65 years old when he’s released.
Ferguson has 14 days to appeal.