Macomb Public Works Commissioner Files Lawsuit Against Kwame Kilpatrick, Others
Macomb County Public Works Commissioner seeks $25.5 million on behalf of taxpayers for sewer project.
Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco filed a $25.5-million federal lawsuit Monday against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and others pertaining to a Sterling Heights sewer project.
Marrocco held a news conference Tuesday morning at the Macomb County Public Works Office at 21777 Dunham in Clinton Township to speak on the matter. The federal lawsuit is against the disgraced mayor, businessman Bobby Ferguson, contractors and other defendants for damages in overcharges paid in the 2004-05 repair of the 15 Mile Road sewer interceptor in Sterling Heights.
The lawsuit claims Kilpatrick, Ferguson, former Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Director Victor Mercado, Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller along with contractors and subcontractors conspired to charge Macomb County false and inflated claims for interceptor repairs.
"Macomb County rate payers were victimized by the defendants and they were entitled to recover the excessive and exorbitant costs they were charged for the 15 Mile sewer repairs," Marrocco said in a prepared statement.
He alleges that the total cost of the project ballooned to $54.5 million when it should have cost a total of $29 million. The interceptor owned by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department collapsed in August 2004 due to the inflow of bedding soils into the pipe and the loss of ground support near a site west of Hayes Road, according to the statement.
As chairman of the drainage board for the Macomb Interceptor Drain, Marrocco filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Detroit. Among the contractor defendants are L. D'Agostini and Sons, Inc. of Macomb Township and Inland Waters Pollution Control, Inc. of Detroit. The lawsuit cites the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) as well as other federal acts.
The Macomb County lawsuit was inspired by the 2010 federal indictment of Kilpatrick and his associates for criminal extortion, bribery and fraud in bid rigging and illegal payouts on water and sewerage construction projects, including the 15 Mile repair work, according to Marrocco's office.
On Tuesday, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said, "I support Commissioner Marrocco to pursue this lawsuit as the investigation continues. Inappropriate actions on behalf of public officials and contractors cannot go unchallenged."
Kilpatrick had also been slapped with another lawsuit Monday in Wayne Circuit Court. That one involved Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette demanding the former mayor use proceeds from his upcoming book to repay taxpayers for his incarceration, which would be at least $12,750, according to The Detroit News.