Judge says MSD board within rights to reject $150 million contract

The board of the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District was within its rights to not award a $150 million tunneling contract to the lowest bidder, a St. Louis court ruled this week.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Joan Moriarty ruled Tuesday that legislative bodies such as MSD’s board are “vested with broad discretion, which absent an affirmative showing of fraud, oppression or arbitrary action, is not subject to review by the courts.”

A joint venture between Detroit-based Jay Dee Constructors Inc. and Frontier-Kemper Constructors sued MSD last month. They won a temporary restraining order keeping the sewer district’s board of trustees from awarding the $150 million tunneling contract to SAK Construction of O’Fallon.

Jay Dee was the initial low bidder on the four-mile tunnel from Clayton to Shrewsbury, coming in $2.5 million lower than SAK’s bid of $147.7 million.

For the last nine months, the contract has been in limbo and ultimately resulted in a rare April vote where MSD’s board of trustees rejected the recommendation of its professional staff to award the contract to Jay Dee. After that, MSD staff recommended giving the project to SAK, the next-lowest bidder. Jay Dee sued to block the board from affirming the contract.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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