Trouble in Paradise

For a quarter-century, Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs ruled the clubby equestrian scene in Wellington, Florida. From his palatial estate, he fought to keep the exclusive community exactly the way he and his family wanted it. Then a brash Boston entrepreneur named Mark Bellissimo appeared on the scene. Now the two men have declared war on each other—and the fate of the town hangs in the balance.

charles jacobs equestrian

Jeremy Jacobs’s son Charles, an internationally competitive equestrian. (Photo by Glenn Kulbako)

To most of us, dressage is still regarded as a curiosity—a strange “sport” in which horses walk to music. Among the equestrian set, though, it’s considered a noble pursuit with a long and venerable history. Which to Mark Bellissimo meant it represented yet another opportunity.

Shortly after buying the International Equestrian Center, Bellissimo also purchased some old polo fields on Pierson Road, halfway between the equestrian center and the Jacobs estate. For years Bellissimo revealed little about what he hoped to do with those fields. But in March 2011, he at last unveiled his plans: an $80 million, 59-acre “Equestrian Village” with five outdoor dressage rings, a covered arena, and a 100-unit, five-story condo/hotel complex that would include 70,000 square feet of retail and commercial space.

The Jacobs family quickly opposed the project. They didn’t like the idea of the noise, or the traffic, or the scale of development, or even where the barn would sit on the dressage facility. The whole thing—just a mile from Deeridge, and immediately adjacent to condos owned by Jeremy’s sons Lou and Charles, who is an internationally competitive rider and a principal in the Bruins and Delaware North—struck them as too close for comfort. But Bellissimo thinks something else was at work: that Jeremy Jacobs simply does not like him. “At the core of this,” he told me, “is the desire to disrupt our success.”

Lou Jacobs insisted that it wasn’t personal. He did admit, though, that the project’s proximity to Deeridge and his condo played a big role. “Would it be different if we were 5 miles away from here?” he asked. “Would I feel differently about it? I probably would. But it still doesn’t change the impact—that somebody wants to do something in an area that was previously designated as a place worth, quote, preserving.”

A particular flashpoint came when Bellissimo contracted out the center for a concert by the hip-hop artist Akon. “That didn’t go over too well,” said a Jacobs spokesperson.

By the time Bellissimo announced his plans, Wellington had been bludgeoned by the recession. Since 2008, its annual budget had decreased by about a third, from $110 million to $74 million, and the community was desperate for new jobs and tax revenue. Bellissimo argued that his proposed dressage facility would help the village permanently attract a whole new set of wealthy equestrians, and maybe even the prestigious World Equestrian Games. And besides, his supporters said, it wasn’t like the site was a beautiful forest in need of protection. It was some empty polo fields on the edge of the preserve, across the street from a strip mall.

Despite the Jacobses’ concerns, Bellissimo wasted little time getting to work, immediately pulling permits to build the development’s horse-related facilities. In May, just two months after the plan’s unveiling, Bellissimo held a public groundbreaking with Mayor Darell Bowen and other local officials. Opponents of the project took the champagne-and-shovel event as another example of Bellissimo’s bulldozing ahead with his plans and asking permission only later.

City officials told me that he has a history of skirting permits and thus committing violations. “Does he correct them? Yeah. Is it always easy to make him do it? No,” said Schofield, the village manager. “Will I tell you that he’s my favorite person to deal with? Absolutely not.”

And in fact, when the real construction work on the horse facilities began in November 2011, the village had yet to grant Bellissimo the right to build the hotel and shops or even to hold competitions at the venue he was at work on. The land was zoned for equestrian use—Bellissimo adhered to all zoning and construction rules—so building horse-related facilities was no problem. But he was going to need village-council approval to operate them commercially. “We just took the risk that the village would act in the best interest of the community,” Bellissimo told me.

 

rival teams jeremy jacobs mark bellissimo

Click to enlarge

As 2012 arrived, debate raged in Wellington about whether to grant Bellissimo his operating permit and allow him to build the hotel and shops. Around that time, Shauna Hostetler, a mother of five and former PTA president who supported Bellissimo, declared her intention to run for a seat in the upcoming village-council election, scheduled for March. Not long afterward, she says, an anonymous letter appeared on her doorstep, warning her to get out of the race. Hostetler showed it to the police, but dismissed it as a freak incident.

According to Hostetler, a few weeks later, on January 13, she returned home from running some errands to find her dog barking wildly. When she attempted to let him out, he instead turned toward the bathroom. She began to open the bathroom door when a male voice startled her: “Don’t come in here, and no one will get hurt.” All Hostetler could see was a hand, in a black glove, poking out from inside the shower. She thought she heard a gun click. As she backed away from the door, the man dashed out a cabana exit that led from the bathroom to the family pool. “Get out of the race,” he shouted as he ran, “and no one will get hurt.” Hostetler called the police and filed a report, but the intruder was never caught. Shaken by the encounter, she nevertheless vowed to continue her campaign.

A few weeks later, in early February, the five-member village council met to consider the proposal for Bellissimo’s equestrian village. Things quickly became contentious, and the debate lasted 20 hours, stretched over three days, the longest council meeting in Wellington history. Over its course Bellissimo agreed to: reduce his hotel from five stories to four; limit the number of seats in the dressage arena to 3,500; build one less barn; and make sure that shows neither started nor ended during rush hour. The council finally voted 4–1 to approve the operating permit, and 3–2 to allow the hotel and commercial elements to move forward, though future approval would still be needed.

The Jacobses were outraged. “I was frankly aghast when I saw the village council was supportive of the development,” Lou Jacobs told me. He made an appointment to see Mayor Bowen, who, as part of his official duties, sat on the council, and who supported the project. “I looked at him and said, ‘I can’t believe you’re supporting this. This is Wellington’s tallest, biggest, densest building, in the heart of what we call a preserve.’ And he looked at me and said, ‘We’re in a recession. I have to do everything I can to get jobs in Wellington.’ And I said, ‘This is crazy. You’re never going to get this green space back.’ And that’s when we said we have to do something, and get active politically.”

 

Three days after the Wellington council approved Bellissimo’s plan, the Jacobs-owned corporate entity Solar Sportsystems donated $100,000 to a group called Taxpayers for Integrity in Government—essentially, a Jacobs-controlled PAC. Its focus was the March village-council elections. As Lou put it to me, “We had a slate of candidates who were supportive of our position.” The candidates were Bob Margolis, for mayor, and John Greene and Matt Willhite, for village council. In the following weeks, Solar Sportsystems gave another $400,000 or so to Taxpayers for Integrity in Government, as well as $93,920 to the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, which was active in the race on the Jacobs candidates’ behalf. And finally, Jacobs family members and related interests in Buffalo made about $35,000 in donations of their own directly to the campaign accounts of their favored candidates. Add it all up and, at the same time that Jeremy Jacobs was gearing up for the National Hockey League’s impending player lockout (during which he’d emerge as one of the ownership group’s most aggressive hardliners), he led the charge on more than $625,000 in political donations in a small Florida village. (In Boston, City Councillor Ayanna Pressley spent $190,000 on her most recent campaign.)

The Jacobs group blanketed the village with mailers and radio and TV ads, primarily targeting Mayor Bowen. Bowen said he felt overwhelmed. “The ads were portraying me as a crook,” he recalled. “I’d go to a restaurant for lunch, and if they had a TV in the place, three or four [ads] would pop up on there. They were on every station. They were on ESPN, CNN, they were on everything.”

Bowen was able to raise only about $30,000 to fight back. The local Chamber of Commerce, which supported Bellissimo, chipped in too, but the group’s tone was hardly more encouraging. One Chamber mailer depicted the candidates Jacobs supported as marionettes, with a hunched-over Jacobs, who is of Jewish descent, pulling their strings. “There’s a puppetmaster in town,” the ad read, in part, “and his name is Jeremy Jacobs.”

Georgina Bloomberg, the daughter of Michael Bloomberg and a Bellissimo business partner, said that she’s never seen anything like the political war that’s engulfed Wellington. “There’s definitely more of a personal side to it that is not something I’ve experienced before in politics,” she told me. I reminded her that her father is the mayor of New York City. True, she said, but “usually politicians go against each other for their issues. This has become, I feel, almost more of a personal fight.”

Shauna Hostetler felt the effects. Before the Jacobses started making their political donations, she told me, she was able to engage voters on a variety of issues. But once the spigot opened, the equestrian village became the only thing that mattered. The race’s tone turned bitter. When she was out canvassing neighborhoods, Hostetler said, people she’d never met before would curse at her and slam the door in her face. “It wasn’t like it was a presidential race,” she said. “This is Wellington, Florida.”

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  • Fred

    The Jacobs are selfish arrogant people. I almost fell out of my chair when I read the comments of Michael Whitlow. I am a non-equetrian resident of Wellington and it is clear that Whitlow does not want me attending horse shows.

  • Fred

    I try to expalin to people about what this war is about that the Jacobs started and people do not believe me when I say it is simply super-rich elitists trying to keep us commoners out. Now I have quotes to prove it.

    • Jeremy North

      Jacobs didnt start the war — they ended it

      • LAMESBURYstinks

        Wow Mr Delaware North spin artist you should get fired on the spot. Somehow and really I dont know it could be done, but you do seem to make the Jacobs look even worse then they are…
        Have to hand it to you that is some smart spinning right there. “Jacobs didnt start the war — they ended it” Ingenious right here, my 4 year old could come up with a better spin then that.

        • Charles Alnut

          Bingo! Jeremy North is actually Mason Phelps, the one who doesn’t want low and middle class people in Wellington. He is just as tone deaf as the Jacobs themselves.

  • Mr. Hockey

    Best thing the Jacobs can do for Bruins fans is sell the team. Charlie Jacobs is a joke.

    I feel sorry for the people in Florida and throughout the U.S. This article describes how the Jacobs are damaging national parks:

    http://www.thecityedition.com/Pages/Archive/2010/Yosemite_Trekker/Yosemite_Contract_Print.html

  • disqus_lxIkILtjAA

    We wish the Jacobs woulkd get out and stay out of Boston and keep to Buffalo. We have friends in Wellington and they feel the same way. The Jacobs family to them is like a case of herpes.

    • Jeremy North

      Should they take that Stanley Cup they won you back with them as well?

      • http://twitter.com/RobTheStreet Rob Holmes

        Last time I checked, the players won the Stanley Cup, not a 73-year-old rich snob. The Bruins won the Cup in spite of Jacobs, not because of him.

      • LAMESBURYstinks

        LOL Mr Jeremy North…. Sorry to inform you but if it wasnt for the Krafts that cup wouldnt exist. The Pats won championships, Sox won championships and the Celtics won leaving the Bruins as the laughing stock of sports in Boston. Only ones who care were the diehards. The Revs had more of a fan base. Until the others started winning it was do stuff as always, on the cheap on Causeway St. Kind of hilarious that the last two nhl lockouts Jeremy wanted he got BURNED. The 04-05 lockout cost him his team and a lot of fans and the old fart didnt get his player contract rollback. this past lockout, funny the prices were good when he was signing the contracts. He should do the world a huge favor and sell the team to one that CARES and get away from all sports… I feel bad for the none rich people in Wellington who have no jobs because someone is inconveniencing the Jacobs by trying to make jobs within a mile of their fortress,, Way to go bunch of clowns, not in my back yard, long as it dont effect us. “If it was 5 miles away it would be different”. Time for people to pull the horse blinders off and see them for what they truly are..

  • Horse rider

    This story is already going viral here in Wellington. It is quite thurough and accurate.

    The comment I would like to make is that the statement that the Jacobs have done nothing with local charities until recently is very accurate. They spennt all that money to get their very own government and now they all of a sudden get generous with their money with local charities. They hired a bafoonish ex councilman to pay to be in photo ops to promote the Jacobs name which is very tarnished.

    • Corey Ryles

      What kind of person challenges the philanthropy of another? Probably someone who hasnt done much in his own right

    • Fred Mariner

      Great news – the story is going viral in Wellington. Now the townsfolk will see what a clown Bellissimo is and what sellouts the Chamber of Commerce are. Please continue to forward

  • Jeremy North

    We are so grateful that the Jacobs family came in a saved our town from this huckster developer. NO one else down here had the courage or wherewithal to fight these special interests who were hell bent on paving over our entire village. Didnt know that the family had to expend so much of their own wealth to fight back this scourge. Thank you Mr. Jacobs we are all very grateful for your support and philathorpy

  • pbr

    This article is pretty interesting. Belissimo comes off as the clown he is— he is like PT Barnum trying to turn Wellington into Disneyland for horses.

    • JimmeDonovan

      TROLL !!

  • Mat

    All three jacobs council members are under investigation.

    Bob Margolis, Matt Willhite and John Greene are corrupt and will be removed from office.

    Wellington will then be free of the clutches of the Jacobs.

    • Corey Ryles

      you should read the article. this is not true.

    • pbr

      You should keep your Florida sleazy politics out of Boston.

    • http://twitter.com/WellingtonAlly Wellington Alliance

      Not true Mat. They are not under investigation. Ethics complaints were filed – by Mark Bellissimo – against Margolis and Greene and the ethics commission found no fault against either. Further, Matt Wilhite, a firefighter on the council, is under no investigation as you claim.

      • JimmeDonovan

        They should be

  • H Thompson

    It seems this story is skewed to one side. A non-equestrian (or beginner) comes into Wellington and starts developing, and making millions in the process? Sounds like a business man who is not concerned about a beautiful green space that should be cherished.

  • Corey Ryles

    Finally the good guys win. Mr. Jacobs had a stick poked in his eye once too often by this bully Bellissimo and his whiny bunch of lap dogs at the Wellington Chamber of Commerce. To whom much is given, much is expected – The Jacobs family certainly delivered on this for our Village.

  • Mat

    Ha! here comes Jeremy North and the Jacobs spin machine.
    for you BM readers out there Jeremy North is Mason Phelps who is in the article.

    • Jeremy North

      You caught me . . . you finally caught the tater. My mom would be very surprised about my change in identity.

  • Guest

    Oldest story in the book. Snake oil salesman (Bellissimo) comes to town promising a cure for everyone. Local Sheriff (Jacobs) figures out he’s trying to rip off the towns folk. Snake Oil salesman enlists a posse of goons (Chamber of Commerce). There’s a showdown. Sheriff stands alone but runs the snake oil salesmen and his cowardly goons out of town. Sound like a real good episode of Gunsmoke. Marshall Dillon wins again – this time its in Wellington

  • Fred Mariner

    Oldest story in the book. Big Bully Rancher (Bellissimo) comes to town bully’s everybody into selling their land and freedom. Local Sheriff (Jacobs) figures out he’s trying to rip off the towns folk. Rancher enlists a posse of goons (Chamber of Commerce). There’s a showdown. Sheriff stands alone but runs the rancher and his cowardly goons out of town. Sound like a real good episode of Gunsmoke. Marshall Dillon wins again – this time its in Wellington and Marshall Dillon is Jeremy Jacobs

  • Stuart Dishmon

    This guy Bellissmo never played hockey in college. Why would he say he did?
    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/display_players.php?tmi=6819

    What other areas of his past is he puffing or hiding

    He has the mentality of a bully and a snake oil salesman – not a hockey player. You disrescpet all hockey players when you loop them into the same group as this wannabe

    • H Thompson

      Like I commented before, this seems to skewed to one side. I wonder what are other facts weren’t checked…

      • H Thompson

        Why was the comment above mine removed? it simply said that Bellissimo didn’t play hockey in college…

  • Marty Phillips

    What an interesting story. In my opinion Mark Bellissimo sounds like a money hungry developer. Trying to sell every square foot of a field.. $1100 for a 10×10 tent? $45,000 for a table? My question is how much $$$ will it cost to go to the bathroom?? Sounds like Mr. Jacobs is doing the right thing by saving a nice town from becoming Disney World South.

    • MontgomeryPew

      “Under Bellissimo’s stewardship, the local economic impact of the
      festival has grown from $57 million in 2005 to $121 million in 2011.”

      If the village is “cash-strapped after the recession” as the article notes, who’s really saving the town?

      • Marty Phillips

        Mr. Pew what’s Mark B. make off that? $121 million must make him 10%? 12 million a year ain’t bad for his pocket book. No wonder why he’s fighting to develop this piece of property. That’s a cash cow for Mr. Bellissimo!!!

        • JimmeDonovan

          Obama stooge ????

    • JimmeDonovan

      as opposed to money hungry … what ? concessions ???

    • Guest

      Admission is free every day but Saturday when it costs $20 per car load to attend . He obviously has to make back the money from purchasing the land somehow, right? I think it’s better that the vendors/VIPs who can afford the cost are charged hefty prices than the other people who just want to have a family night out.

  • pbr

    The way that Bullisimo guy charges, we better hope the Jacobs and the Krafts don’t get any ideas! I’d sure hate to go to a nasty and dirty horse show and have to drop that kind of cash.

  • Mat

    Just as I predicted there are two or three people from the Jacobs spin machine posting trash. Sorry good people of Boston for the onslaught.

    • Marty Phillips

      Mat – just a reader. Sorry to disappoint.

      • Marty Phillips

        Just for the record that’s what Mr. Bellissimo stated on page 2. Not making it up or “spinning” things here.

        • Charles Alnut

          Hey Marty, you sound just like the lame writer for “The Town Truth”.

          • Marty Phillips

            Don’t understand?

          • Charles Alnut

            Yeah right. You live outside Wellington yet you have this great interest in Wellington and take time to blog here. You are Village Truth aka Mason Phelps.

  • MontgomeryPew

    What a hilarious comments section this has turned into — it reads like a zealous legion of PR interns toeing the party line. The whole situation is laughable, I mean god forbid someone plops down a hotel on a vacant polo field — the horror! Paved roads and bike paths? Good lord, the audacity!

    At least Bellissimo seems to be opening things up for the community, which if the article is any indication, seems to be going over quite well. I mean, how can anyone read the comments from the Jacobs camp about keeping the lower/middle class riff-raff out without cringing? It was ridiculous enough before reading about how the legal fees are affecting the village’s budget, hefty price to pay for two egos in a dick-waving contest.

    • Charles Alnut

      Being from Wellington I can assure you that you are correct. I’ve seen the same nonsense over and over and over every time a local newspaper article appears.

      Jeremy North, Marty Phillips, H.Thompson and Bob Templeton are all creations of Mason Phelps, the Jacobs’ hit-man who was quoted in the article as not wanting the middle and low classes coming to Wellington.

      Bellissimo has higher quality bloggers.

      Being that I make my living from the horse shows and Jacobs wants to dismantle things and make it all a private club I wholy support Bellissimo on these matters. He can be a bully and SOB sometimes but he has great ideas and he devotes a lot to charity.

      Jacobs never gave a dime until recently when he wanted public support.

      • Marty Phillips

        That’s good to know Charles. Where in Wellington do you actually live? I have family in West Palm Beach.

        • JimmeDonovan

          TROLL

      • H Thompson

        I can assure you that I am not Mason Phelps, nor am I affiliated with him in any way. Just a person who sees both sides of the story and doesn’t believe everything he reads.

        Hopefully that cleared things up for you, Charles.

    • Emily Forrest

      I was at the horse show last night and the Boston Magazine article was the “buzz”. The show was fun and jam-packed with people. I’ve never seen a bigger crowd. I think the article might have tweaked people’s interest.

    • JimmeDonovan

      .

      Good to see such sleaze in Florida
      ………
      –Politicians get bought and bought and bought , the LIES fly right and left , and everyone denies the negativity
      .
      Maybe the Justice Department needs to come down here to visit these charlatans

      .

      .

    • Tomh

      I live in Wellington and could not agree more; this is not about horse property and “saving” wellington’s green space, it’s about 2 rather obnoxious Ego’s.
      However, Mr Bellisimo has made huge contribution to the sport of Dressage in the community which was badly needed. Mr Jacobs has some of the city councilmen in his back pocket instead of looking out for the betterment of the
      Community, they are looking out for their largest sponsor!
      Shame on ALL of them!!
      I guess they believe money equals control…

  • JeffRoyalPalm

    This is indeed an interesting story and the writer did a good job handling it for the most part. Putting aside the outsized amount the Jacobs spent on the election in Wellington (the other side spent a lot as well), I applaud them for standing up for what they believe in – protecting Wellington’s unique Equestrian Preserve, to the benefit of the entire village. I went to college in Boston and live near Wellington. Bostonians should understand the Jacobs point as well as anyone – how would you like someone developing a resort/spa/hotel within the Emerald Necklace? Or on the Boston Commons? That’s really what the issue comes down to.

    • iliveheretoo

      It’s absolutely nothing like that…at all….

  • Bob Templeton

    As someone who lives just outside of Wellington I thought this article was just a little biased. The equestrian aspects are what have built Wellington into the growing and thriving community it is today. There is nothing wrong with growth, but not at the expense of destroying what made the community so attractive in the first place. If Wellington starts to look and feel just like Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach the things that drew people here in the first place disappear. There is nothing wrong with McDonald’s – I eat there all the time, but if your primary customers (who have spent millions in your community) are expecting a Four Star dining experience and they start getting a Happy Meal product you are completely destroying the brand. Wellington is a beautiful community, and the Equestrian Preserve was set up to maintain what makes Wellington so unique. Mark Belisimo just doesn’t seem to get that and all the Jacobs family have done is try and preserve the community that we all love so that it continues to grow and thrive in a responsible way. Ultimately this is about maintaining a community’s identity for long term success. Belisimo’s ideas would destroy that brand and damage long term sustainable growth to put some money in his pocket now. He can say this is about Wellington, but it’s about his bottom line. And the people hurt by his actions ultimately won’t be just the wealthy equestrians, but everyone who works in Wellington and has benefited from the unique economic benefits it provides to this area.

  • matttw

    these guy are both rich jerks but jeremy jacobs is the worse rich snob in this case. just those comments from mason phelps are just absolutely disgusting shows everything that’s wrong with this country run by the 1% that doesn’t care about anyone else. I hope both these rich jerks lose all their money.
    also the Bruins won a cup despite jacobs not because of him.

  • Fred

    Eventually the fact that councilman Greene was living with Neil Hirsch the owner of the local nightclub called Players Club, will get him removed from office. Hirsch has lawyers and lobbyists involved in village issues and the maximum gift he can give an elected official is $100. He gave Greene that much in chocolates the first night Greene started living with him.

  • Dave Daringer

    Wellington was considered an elite city here in Palm Beach County before Jacobs and his allies spent the ungodly amount of money to get their bozos elected.

    It was a disgusting, deceitful campaign they ran. Jacobs’ people claimed it was only the hotel they opposed. But once elected the bozos have tried to demolish the new derby/dressage venue by revoking approvals (for an existing facility) and Jacobs has filed lawsuits trying to get it torn down.

    Jacobs does not want commoners around and the losers he got elected are carrying out his agenda.

    • Wellington Resident

      You have to be kidding? Why don’t you drive by Pierson and south shore blvd and look at the fine dump Belissimo created. Trailers, equipment, old abandoned lunch truck….an elite village. Maybe when Bill Ylvisaker/Gould Corp ran things. Wellington attracted from all corners of the world, the two developers have ruined Wellington. Funny how the Jacobs family had no problem taking second seat back then when we had a beautiful community. Foster spins and forgets the wonder and great contribution the low income housing has brought to Wellington. Tear it down….he’ll yes, the project is third world not world class.

  • tainted love

    In the first five paragraphs the reader learns of Jeremy Jacobs “the notoriously short-tempered and combative billionaire”…. “He is known as a difficult man”…”this made Jacobs very angry”….. nice way for a writer with an agenda to set the table without actually telling us how he comes to these conclusions. I for one would appreciate Mr. Schwartz or the editors to disclose why such characterizations are allowed in this expose without any support or evidence. Otherwise, this entire effort wastes my time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Wood/100000463715716 Terry Wood

    Well, Jacobs had a reporter killed in Az, So, this guy from Boston better watch his back

  • pbr

    Sure are a lot of “Boston” residents concerned about Whereinthehellington Florida!

  • http://twitter.com/PalmsWestPress PalmsWestPress

    My family moved to Wellington in 1977 and we were a great part of the growth of Wellington, before and after equestrian interests arrived (Bill Ylvisaker and Gould Florida Inc. brought polo here). We started the community’s first and (currently) only newspaper, The Town-Crier, and started the effort which, despite a misguided and failed plan by some in the equestrian community, became the Village of Wellington – the community’s greatest achievement. Wellington was one of the finest new hometown communities in Florida, if not the nation, before the horsey set arrived and was made only better by that industry, but it did not need horses to survive. The Jacobs family was never a part of the betterment of this community, unless it came to its interests. The Pierson Road issue (Jacobs blocked paving of a vital east-west road past a major park and to the Mall at Wellington Green) was the worst of his slap at the community before now, costing Wellington millions of dollars and great inconvenience – all because it dared to pass by his estate! He was able to buy votes last year, but something tells me voters will be a lot smarter the next time around and put people in office who want the best for the community at large and not some elitist special interest. I have no connection to either one of these combatants, by the way.

  • tpartynitwit

    One Stanley Cup in nearly 40 years and $8 beers. The lockout’s biggest cheerleader apparently loves money more than hockey or its fans. Sell, you louse!

  • vpagano@andersonkelly.com

    WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY!!! I GUESS THE RICH HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO WITH IT!!

  • Sam Nebb

    There has been a running battle between equestrian groups for quite a while. Has anyone asked common non-equestrian citizens of Wellington what THEY think is important? Mr. Bellissimo wanted to get the World Equestrian Games to come to Wellington and that would bring 100,000
    equestrians to Wellington (he said) and possibly a MILLION horses for the games. I would not like to see Weiilington become the circus that his ideas would bring. I’m tired of having to buy more and more bottled water and worrying about the disposal of waste from that many horses as well as the complex crowded building and road development that would accompany the crowds. If Mr.Jacobs wants to keep Wellington rural, he certainly has my support.

    Sam Nebb
    Wellington Resident.

    • JimmeDonovan

      TROLL

  • Marty Phillips
  • Flabber

    Hahahah, this is hilarious. The comments defending jacobs are like they were ripped out of a bad 80s movie!

  • k.l. lund

    Knowing the Jacobs I can tell you every nickel they donate is heralded by them. They never let a good deed go unnoticed.

    Down here in Wellington they were known for not giving ANYTHING to local groups but that changed when they wanted to own the town. It was comical. They gave $1,400 for a field hockey tournament and arranged for a Village proclamation be awarded the Jacobs Family and a photo-op with the council and their PR stooge, press releases blah blah blah. That’s right, $1,400. The comma and zeros are correct.

    They also donated to a Halloween event and blasted out a press release that had their PR stooge with a child and a sign that read “Candy donated by the Jacobs Family”.

    Of course it is their now infamous PR idiot Mason Phelps who arranges all this.

    The Jacobs are arrogant and selfish and are trying to dictate our lives.

  • pbr

    Fat Guy on a little horse….fat guy on a little horse…

  • Common

    Didn’t we win a Stanley cup 2 years ago? Doesn’t seem THAT bad to be a Bruins fan lately.

    • JimmeDonovan

      40 years of suffering because of mismanagement ?!?!?!!?
      idiotic TROLL

  • http://twitter.com/delawarenorth delawarenorth

    Mason Phelps is not an authorized spokesperson for the Jacobs family or Delaware North Companies. His statement is offensive and does not reflect the views of the family or company.

    • Emily Forrest

      That is nonsense. You cannot deny that Mason Phelps represents the Jacobs’ interests. He speaks on their behalf at public events and the Phelps Media Group website lists the following clients:

      – Deeridge Farm (Jacobs owned)

      – Wellington Equestrian Preservation Alliance (funded by the Jacobs with Lou Jacobs President)

      – Wellington Preservation Coalition (funded by the Jacobs and Lou Jacobs President)

      Phelps was saying what the Jacobs say behind closed doors.

  • Mason Phelps, Jr.

    I was
    quoted in the Boston Magazine article regarding Wellington. In seeing
    what I said in print, its sentiment and tone, I realize I need to set
    the record straight.

    First and foremost, my comments have been attributed to others including clients, such as the Jacobs family. I represent the Jacobs family on equestrian competition public relations and I am not an authorized spokesperson for them. In fact, I was NOT representing any of my clients when I spoke with the reporter.

    Wellington has been my home for many years and I am proud of the town and the people who live here – ALL of them. The impression I gave in the article, that Wellington should only be for the affluent, is
    unfortunate. I truly was speaking as a property owner who would prefer
    that large scale events and concerts happen in designated commercial
    areas approved for these types of events, not residential neighborhoods.

    In fact, what makes Wellington such an amazing place is its great diversity. As one of the truly great communities in this country – I am fortunate to live here and apologize for my remarks.

    Respectfully,

    Mason

    • Emily Forrest

      I recall someone refer to Mason as skunk vomit. That’s an apt description.

      He’s now trying to deflect criticism by talking about events held in commercial versus residential areas. Pathetic. The property is commercial recreation on which the Akon performance took place.

      No one expected Mason to be forthright and simply say “I am sorry and please forgive me”.

      He is disgusting but you can be assured he will go on representing the Jacobs despite the smokescreen they are creating.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1268366590 Stacy German Gutner

    Thank you Mark Bellissimo for allowing the Special Olympics to use your facility, my daughter rides and she had so much fun! See what no one knows is that the facility was built and they gave the Special Olympics permission to run the area games there. I know that the Bellissimos are great givers to charity, just ask the people that run Vinceremos where my daughter rides.
    Thanks again Mark and Family!

  • RGroves

    The reporter and Mr Bellissimo neglected to interview and consider the impact on the working and retired neighbors of the project. The manure smell from overbuilt barns, the industrial lights that gleam into our homes all night and the numerous rule violations of this project were ignored.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gerard-Smith/1101468602 Gerard Smith

    I have known Bellissimo for a long time and while both of the parties sound pretty awful it would be hard to match Marc in terms of a distasteful individual.

  • dressager

    I don’t live in Wellington, just a rider that has followed the story for years. Here’s my beef, lol: the writer needs to learn what the hell dressage is~ dressage is “horses walking to music” are you *kidding* me, dude? Seriously? Nice research. Wow.