An exhaustive article in the April edition of Boston magazine describes the battleground that Wellington has become. The article describes the “war” that billionaire Jeremy Jacobs has declared against Mark Bellissimo and his Wellington Equestrian Partners.
Bellissimo and WEP have been successful at making Wellington’s equestrian industry more inclusive, and the Jacobs family does not like that.
As described in the article, this is the same Jeremy Jacobs who:
• Prevented a sidewalk from being installed in front of his 300-acre equestrian estate for children to ride and bike to Village Park.
• Six years ago tried moving the horse shows out of Wellington when he was not getting his way.
• Has a lawsuit trying to get the new dressage and covered arena venue that shares the same public street as his estate torn down.
The center of the battle is WEP’s success at broadening the appeal of horse shows by providing family entertainment with equestrian events. That includes singers and marching bands from local schools, a petting zoo, a carousel and other family-friendly activities. This is being characterized by the Jacobs faction as a “circus” and “carnival” atmosphere. Below are some quotes by Jacobs’ minions from the article.
“With the circus atmosphere that’s being promoted, I think we’ve lost a certain amount of high-class dignity,” said Michael Whitlow, a board member of the Wellington Equestrian Preservation Alliance, a group set up by the Jacobs family to support their interests. “I would like to see Wellington be the elite of the elites. The absolutely crème de la crème, the top of the top, as opposed to something for everybody.”
Mason Phelps, a former equestrian who today serves as a Jacobs family spokesman in Wellington, said, “I don’t mean to sound like a snob, but this is a fairly upscale community, and we don’t need to bring the low- and middle-income hooligans into town and have them all of a sudden say, Wow, good pickins’ out here.”
A small, elitist faction within Wellington’s equestrian community agrees with the Jacobs family. Unfortunately, as has been described in numerous media accounts, Jacobs controls a majority of the Wellington Village Council — Mayor Bob Margolis and councilmen John Greene and Matt Willhite. This council majority is working to implement the Jacobs agenda. Most destructive is their attempt to tear down the covered arena that was intended for year-round use and was to be available free to charities for 30 days every year.
We, the people of Wellington, need to take control of Wellington away from the Jacobs and their mercenaries on the council.
Pete Yeager, Equestrian Forum of Wellington