February 28, 2009 at 1:00 am

Bobby Ferguson ordered to post a $1M bond

But a lawyer for the Detroit businessman said raising the funds would shut down his company.

Ferguson )

DETROIT -- A Wayne County judge on Friday ordered city contractor Bobby Ferguson, a close friend of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, to post a $1 million bond while he appeals a jury verdict awarded to a man he pistol whipped in 2004.

But a lawyer for Ferguson, whose offices were raided by the FBI in January, said Ferguson can't post the bond. Friday's order, the attorney said, could result in the shutdown of his company, Ferguson Enterprises, Inc.

"Justice delayed is justice denied," said Wayne Circuit Judge Wendy M. Baxter, explaining why she would not delay collection proceedings unless Ferguson posted a bond equal to 125 percent of the judgment against him.

Kennedy Thomas, a former employee of Ferguson's construction firm, won a $2.6 million jury verdict against Ferguson in 2007 after Ferguson was convicted in 2005 of pistol whipping him. Ferguson assaulted Thomas after accusing him of calling his wife late at night. Thomas testified he suffers from seizures and dizziness and must walk with a cane as a result of the assault.

Baxter reduced the amount of the judgment against Ferguson and his company to just over $860,000. Ferguson is appealing to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Ferguson's lawyer, Krystal Lyons, presented an affidavit from Ferguson Enterprises' insurance company saying the company's bonding capacity is zero.

"If (Thomas) is allowed to go in and just start taking things out of the business (to satisfy the judgment), it could effectively shut the business down," Lyons told Baxter.

"No one is going to end up getting anything, including the plaintiff, if he is not allowed to operate his business."

Thomas' lawyer, Mark Granzotto, said the affidavit Lyons presented only suggests Ferguson's company can't get performance bonds for construction projects and says nothing about appeal bonds.

There also is no evidence that Ferguson can't come up with the money personally, said Granzotto, who pointed to a 2008 article in The Detroit News that said Ferguson had received at least $170 million in city contracts since Kilpatrick took office in 2002.

Under state law, Thomas could begin forced collection on Ferguson's assets in 21 days, if the required appeal bond is not posted.