No-Bid Contracts Awarded by McHenry County College; $9 Million Approved for Overruns on $26 Million Baseball Stadium Project

From Regan Foster’s Northwest Herald article, it doesn’t appear that I missed much at the McHenry County College’s meeting Thursday night.

A bunch of no-bid contracts were approved, all on unanimous votes, she writes.

As expected, Mark Houser’s Equity One Development won what Houser wanted.

With no competition.

The others selected?

According to Foster,

“With trustee blessing, the college may go ahead and negotiate contracts with the firms that will oversee construction, College President Walt Packard said. Itasca-based Cornerstone Architects Ltd., FLC Builders Inc., also of Itasca, and Libertyville’s EquityOne Development Corp. have been pegged for those respective jobs.”

Of course, we knew that was preordained since McHenry County Blog found the September contract granting him this extraordinary concession:

“At the completion of the feasibility study and independent review, if the College elects to proceed with the project, the College will contract with EquityOne or it’s (sic) assigns to develop the project on the College’s behalf.”

Interestingly, the bond adviser was not picked on Thursday. To learn more about the applicants, one of whom–Tim Sratton–has already worked on the project, click here.

And the most delicious item reported?

The Board approved spending $9 million more than the $26 million that has been touted as the total cost.

MCC President Walt Packard explained

“the $9 million difference between the cap on bonds and the approved price was set in case cost overruns occur during the actual construction” (not a direct quote).

That’s almost 35% of wiggle worm.

When Jefferson Wells forensic auditor Mike Nowark made his presentation to Huntley School District 158’s board, he said that change orders increasing the cost above 5% would be suspicious.

(What’s needed are) “contracts with ‘not to exceed’ limits. You can make it to the contractor’s benefit (by having) a shared savings (clause).”

Nowark also suggested putting in the right to audit subcontractors, but said most governments don’t do that.

And, remember, this baseball stadium is to be built without asking the voters’ permission.

And, also remember that no detailed explanation of how use of the baseball stadium will pay for this project has been released to the public.

It reminds me too much of Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign:

”Trust me.”

Frankly, I prefer President Ronald Reagan’s advice:

“Trust and verify.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *