DETROIT — Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick must pay $4.5 million to the water department, a conservative estimate of the profits enjoyed by a contractor who got excavation work through corruption at city hall, a judge ruled Tuesday.
The restitution order is one of the last acts in Kilpatrick's case. In October, he was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for extortion, bribery, conspiracy and other crimes during his years in office.
It's unlikely that the city will get much from Kilpatrick in the short term. He was broke before the trial and qualified for attorneys at public expense. He still owes Detroit more than $800,000 in a separate criminal case that forced him out of office in 2008.
Much of the federal trial centered on water department contracts given to Kilpatrick pal Bobby Ferguson. Prosecutors acknowledged that Ferguson performed some work but said the contracting process nonetheless was spoiled by corruption.
Kilpatrick was convicted of conspiring to give city business to Ferguson and getting a share of the spoils.
There was testimony that "Mr. Ferguson received millions of dollars for doing nothing at all," U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said.
Defense attorney Harold Gurewitz objected to the government's calculation. He told the judge that restitution is a tricky matter because the city didn't really suffer a loss if Ferguson performed work as required.
The $4.5 million restitution tab will be reduced if authorities can find assets that belong to Ferguson.
In a separate step, Edmunds ordered Kilpatrick to pay $195,000 to the Internal Revenue Service as a result of tax convictions in the trial.
Kilpatrick, 43, declined to attend the hearing. He is at a federal prison in Milan in southeastern Michigan while awaiting a possible transfer to Texas to be closer to family.
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