June 30, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Ex-Ferguson colleague faces sentencing in $12M bid-rigging case

Michael Woodhouse )

Detroit — Bobby Ferguson’s former colleague should be spared prison for his role in a $12 million bid-rigging case because he has suffered anxiety and physical problems since being indicted and was a relatively minor figure, the man’s lawyer said.

Michael Woodhouse, 56, of West Bloomfield Township will be sentenced Tuesday in federal court and could get up to 21 months in prison though he would be the first defendant in the case to serve any prison time. Ferguson was acquitted in a streamlined retrial in February but was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison in the separate City Hall corruption case.

Woodhouse stood trial alongside Ferguson in the bid-rigging case that ended in a mistrial in 2012. In January, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States, a five-year felony. Prosecutors have secured five convictions in the case.

“(Woodhouse) deeply regrets the decision he made and is committed to never putting his family through another situation such as this again,” defense lawyer Stephon Johnson wrote in a recent court filing. “The defendant is disappointed in himself because for the first time in his life he has embarrassed his family and been the subject of great scrutiny. The defendant is fully committed to taking the necessary steps to never be in this situation again.”

Ferguson, Woodhouse and a third man, Calvin Hall, were colleagues at Xcel Construction Services, which won a taxpayer-funded contract to help transform Herman Gardens into a new public housing project called Garden View Estates.

Woodhouse admitted preparing fraudulent documents that were used to land a public contract for Xcel to work on the project.

His role in the conspiracy was a departure from an otherwise honorable life, Woodhouse’s lawyer wrote.

Woodhouse, a married father of three, “has suffered from health and emotional problems which have caused anxiety attacks and various physical symptoms since the time of the investigation and prosecution...” Johnson wrote.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson will sentence Woodhouse at 1 p.m. Tuesday in federal court in downtown Detroit.

In a separate letter, Woodhouse told the judge he has lost about $500,000 in income since being indicted and repeatedly blamed media coverage of the case.

“From the time the federal agents raided my Xcel office in Jan. 2009, this entire process and the continuing negative media coverage has caused me to develop anxiety attacks that have prevented me from sleeping through the night for over 7 years,” he wrote.

rsnell@detroitnews.com

Michael Woodhouse )