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KEY LARGO -- The Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District has filed papers in court asking a judge to grant a summary judgment against a disgruntled contractor.

Douglas N. Higgins, a construction firm, sued the district last month, accusing it of improperly awarding a $4 million project to another company despite Higgins being the lower bidder by about $89,000. Higgins also named Wharton Smith Construction, which was awarded the contract, as a defendant in the lawsuit.

The fallout began in January when the district selected Wharton-Smith, the company that built its treatment plant and with whom staff say they have an excellent relationship, to build a bio-solids digester tank to help treat wastewater from Islamorada.

In a 28-page report, Ray Giglio, the sewer district's attorney, alleges that Higgins fails to accuse the district of doing anything illegal. Giglio wrote the courts do not have the authority to take a contract from one company and give it to Higgins.

Bids from contractors can be dismissed whenever the district feels it's in it's best interest, he wrote.

A hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. April 30 before Judge David Audlin.