Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – During its meeting Thursday evening the Board of Trustees for the Metropolitan Sewer District was prepared to award the latest contract as part of its on-going Project Clear effort.

However, a short time before the board was set to meet, the St. Louis Circuit Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) preventing the board’s planned action.

The TRO request was part of a lawsuit filed by the Jay Dee/Frontier-Kemper (JDFK) Joint Venture – which last year submitted a bid to perform the Deer Creek tunneling project that came in $2.5 million lower than one from SAK Construction.

Last September MSD’s professional staff awarded the contract to JDFK for $145.3 million.

“But in a series of unexplained decisions, MSD trustees rescinded the contract and on April 18, 2017 moved to award the contract to the second highest bidder SAK Construction,” according to a press release.

msd2 MSD Blocked From Awarding Contract For Project Clear

(KMOX/Brett Blume)

MSD spokesman Lance LeComb offered no explanation for the board’s decision that triggered the suit.

“Everybody has a right to seek legal redress in our courts,” LeComb said. “That’s what the United States is about, and that’s what Jay Dee/Frontier-Kemper is doing.”

JDFK officials just want to know what happened between the original awarding of the contract last fall and last month’s decision to switch to SAK.

“MSD still hasn’t explained why it rescinded our contract which was based on a thoroughly vetted and validated bid by MSD’s professional staff,” said John DiPonio, Vice President of Michigan-based Jay Dee Contractors, Inc. “We build all over the country and the lack of accountability by MSD in its bidding process is astounding.”

Their lawsuit askes the court to rule that MSD acted “in an arbitrary and capricious manner” concerning the awarding of the contract.

LeComb stands by the agency’s process.

“MSD staff brought forward a recommendation several months ago,” he explained. “That was Jay Dee/Frontier-Kemper. The board voted it down (twice) and we are now moving on to the second-lowest bidder. This is part of the MSD process as laid out in our charter and rules, and that’s the process we’re exercising right now.”

A hearing on the matter has been set for May 25th in St. Louis Circuit Court.

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