Detroit— A construction company caught up in Kwame Kilpatrick’s racketeering scandal which has staked a claim to millions in restitution that could be awarded by a federal judge says Friday it would donate any cash to the community.
“Our request for restitution is simply to vindicate our name,” Walbridge spokesman Terry Merritt said.
The announcement came hours after The News reported that the construction company wants as much as $5 million in restitution because the firm and prosecutors say Walbridge was victimized by a criminal enterprise headed by Kilpatrick and contractor Bobby Ferguson.
The scheme focused on a Detroit Water and Sewerage Department deal called the Oakwood Retention project.
“We did not pay to play. In fact, we refused to agree to Ferguson’s ‘pay to play’ demands on the Oakwood Retention project,” Walbridge Merritt said in an email Friday. “As a result, the Kilpatrick enterprise manipulated the bidding process to ensure we did not get that job, even though we were the low bidder. The Oakwood project was included in the government’s case to show what happened if a contractor did not agree to the bribery scheme.”
Ferguson, aided by former Detroit Water and Sewerage boss Victor Mercado and Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller, extorted $5 million worth of work from Walbridge, according to trial testimony.
Walbridge cooperated with prosecutors, Merritt said.
“Based on our status as a victim, the U.S. Attorney’s office involved Walbridge in developing its case, and, after the convictions, they asked us to meet with the FBI to help with the loss calculation used at the sentencing,” Merritt said. “Prior to the sentencing we told the U.S. Attorney’s office that we intended to donate any restitution back to the community. Our request for restitution is simply to vindicate our name.”