Imprisoned ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was indicted Wednesday on new corruption charges, and his father, Bernard Kilpatrick, also was implicated in what a federal prosecutor called a “pattern of extortion, bribery and fraud” among some of the city’s most prominent officials.


U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced the 38-count indictment during a news conference. The indictment also lists longtime Kwame Kilpatrick associate Bobby Ferguson, ex-city water director Victor Mercado and ex-mayoral aide Derrick Miller.

“This indictment alleges an audacious and far-reaching abuse of the public trust by a group of high-level city officials and their close associates,” McQuade said.

Kilpatrick resigned as mayor in 2008 after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in state court. He’s now in prison for violating probation in that case and is awaiting trial in federal court on tax and fraud charges related to how he spent money from a nonprofit fund.

“Obviously, these are very serious charges. We’re going to take them very seriously,” said Kwame Kilpatrick lawyer Jim Thomas. “We’re going to fight this.”

According to the new indictment, the then-mayor and the others used his office to extort contractors.

Bernard Kilpatrick and Miller helped hold up a $50 million sewer lining contract until the winning bidder agreed to bring Ferguson’s business into the deal, the indictment said. It said Ferguson ended up receiving $24.7 million in business.

The indictment lists 13 alleged fraudulent schemes in the awarding of contracts in the city’s Department of Water and Sewerage.

“At the heart of the scheme … was corruption in municipal contracting,” McQuade said.

The indictment grows out of a six-year investigation into corruption in Detroit, McQuade said. She and Detroit FBI chief Andrew Arena said the investigation continues to gather evidence.

“It’s not going to be done until we say it’s done,” Arena said.

Kwame Kilpatrick is accused of defrauding the state of Michigan and private donors to his civic fund by using the fund for personal expenses and other improper purposes.

Ferguson kicked back at least $424,000 in cash and valuables to the then-mayor, the indictment said. It said Kwame Kilpatrick used at least $590,000 to make deposits to his bank accounts, pay credit cards, buy cashier’s checks, repay loans and buy clothes.

While his son was mayor, Bernard Kilpatrick deposited $600,000 in cash into personal bank accounts, the indictment said. He is charged with making false tax filings for 2004, 2005 and 2007.