Chris Dickert waited months for the chance to speak publicly at a Rock County Drainage Board meeting.
Having only a few minutes to speak at the Dec. 18 meeting, Dickert used his time to tell current board Chairman Dennis Beggs how disappointed he was in his behavior and criticize him for abusing board resources.
Dickert had filed a lawsuit against the board in March over a fine involving a drainage ditch. In August, a Rock County judge sided with Dickert, a former board chairman, and ordered the board to pay more than $900 in fees and remove a lien against Dickert’s town of Center property.
Because the board holds quarterly meetings, December was Dickert’s first chance to speak publicly to Beggs. His brief commentary was likely the epilogue to a story steeped in years of tension.
The tension began in 2007 while Dickert was chairman.
The town of Center removed trees near Dickert’s property, revealing a blocked culvert. When it was cleared, water from neighboring properties flooded his land, as previously reported by The Gazette.
Dickert built a berm to illegally reverse the water. The berm was removed in 2010. A few years later, the board decided to build a drainage ditch on his property.
Dickert said he recused himself from the decision.
When Beggs took over as chairman in 2015, he investigated the ditch and imposed a $35,000 fine on Dickert in 2017. Dickert then filed the lawsuit.
The August court decision says Dickert does not have to pay those fines. Despite recouping about $900 from the board, he is stuck with about $9,000 in his own attorney fees and will not recover “all my time and all the worry,” he said.
Beggs mostly declined to comment and told The Gazette he wished his attorney had given him clearance to speak.
“Chris, Chris, Chris,” Beggs said. “I’ve got no further comment on anything that comes out of his mouth.”
Drainage boards oversee drainage districts, which are organized to drain lands for agricultural purposes, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Dickert said the money and resources the board dedicated to this legal dispute could have been better used for other projects.
“He’s (Beggs is) a lone wolf,” Dickert said. “The rest of his board doesn’t know what’s going on.”