Guest Column: Rockford Park District says THANK YOU, William Charles, for the 16 percent discount

By Nichole Larison Sammon
Fox Ridge Subdivision resident

William Charles, in an article in the daily released Saturday, Oct. 8, stated they donated $200,000 to the Rockford Park District Foundation for renovations of the Sinnissippi Lagoon. The lagoon is adjacent to the Nicholas Conservatory at 1354 N. Second St., or across the street from William Charles Ltd. headquarters in Sinnissippi Park.

On the surface, this appears to be a very unselfish act, donating $200,000 to assist the park district in finishing this large and well-known, underfunded project. There is only one important fact left out of the article. May 24, 2011, William Charles was awarded Bid No. 1997 by the Rockford Park District, in the amount of $1,256,234.28. Based on the “donation” that is 16 percent of this particular bid, or as one might describe it as the “friend and family discount.”

Given the fact that the construction industry is ranked No. 21 in most profitable industries, one must wonder even with this “donation”, how much William Charles is still making on this entire job. After all, in July of 2010, Ragnar Benson Construction, a subsidiary of William Charles, took over the construction manager’s duties for the Lagoon and Nicholas Conservatory projects. This most certainly amounts to additional profit to William Charles not mentioned in the article.

Timing of this donation seems almost perfect, as William Charles Construction is trying to push through a special-use permit for another asphalt plant in our county. The article was released on a weekend day, when one could say residents are too busy to look at the daily, or one could say more residents have time to read the paper.

The article left out just enough facts to make it seem completely unselfish in its intent. In the end, William Charles, who rents the building owned by the Rockford Park District located at 1401 N. Second St. in Sinnissippi Park, is one of the major benefactors of all of these projects. It is their front-yard view; they are managing the construction and completion; and all with our taxpayer dollars paying them for the work.

Please call your Winnebago County Board members and ask them to understand all facts before voting on the special-use permit for the asphalt plant.

From the Oct. 12-18, 2011, issue

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