Westwego faces lawsuit over $1.3 million water storage tank contract _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The Westwego water plant. Westwego has scrapped a plan to replace its water treatment facility behind City Hall, deciding instead to repair and modernize the facility.

A construction company’s attempt to block Westwego officials from awarding a $1.3 million contract to replace the municipal water storage tank to a rival bidder failed on Wednesday.

Command Construction’s request for a preliminary injunction in the case was denied by Jefferson Parish Judge Stephen Enright, court records show. Command then dropped its lawsuit after Westwego and the rival bidder, Ashley Savarino Unlimited Construction, agreed not to pursue compensation for attorney’s fees.

The outcome of the case lets Westwego execute a contract with Savarino.

Metairie-based Command had alleged that Savarino did not have a license for municipal and public works construction as required by state law when it bid for the water tank replacement project on April 29.

Nonetheless, Command’s lawyers were later notified that Westwego intended to give the contract to Savarino, also based in Metairie.

Command responded by filing a lawsuit against Westwego and Mayor John Shaddinger seeking to bar the city from allowing construction to go forward with Savarino.

The suit argued that while Savarino’s bid was the lowest overall, Command’s proposal had the lowest price of any company that actually satisfied the bidding requirements.

Westwego City Attorney Joel Levy said the contract was awarded lawfully because a subcontractor for Savarino did have the required credentials.

Savarino intervened in the dispute, and Enright heard arguments in the case June 17.

Lawyers for Savarino and Command declined requests for comment Wednesday. Levy couldn’t immediately be reached.

The storage tank replacement project forms part of a large plan to upgrade Westwego’s ramshackle water treatment system.

Grant money will pay to replace a 600,000-gallon water storage tank with a 700,000-gallon tank, bringing the city into compliance with a state mandate.