Letter: Bellissimo Accusation Was Unfair

Recently, there was a letter from Daniel Herbert (Déjà Vu at the Show Grounds, Nov. 23) disparaging Equestrian Sport Productions founder and CEO Mark Bellissimo, claiming Mark “does not even do the bare minimum” for Wellington. Apparently, the writer missed Mark and daughter Paige’s Great Charity Challenge, which so far has raised more than $12.2 million directly to over 230 Palm Beach County charities. In 2018 alone, according to the Fidelity Investments 2018 Charity Fund Use Report, there were 58 organizations with more than 89,997 lives directly impacted by Paige and Mark Bellissimo’s work. From the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County, to True Fast Outreach Ministries, to the Glades Initiative and to Alzheimer’s Community Care, just to name a few, the Bellissimo family has greatly given and impacted Wellington and all of Palm Beach County.

The writer complained that Bellissimo has not made agreed road improvements originally imposed in 2013. A little history refresher may be in order. After the Wellington Village Council denied and delayed a number of Equestrian Sport Productions’ requests for improving the showgrounds, Bellissimo repositioned development money originally destined for Wellington to Tryon, North Carolina. What once was a blank hillside in Tryon recently hosted the 2018 World Equestrian Games and has become one of the top equestrian venues in the United States.

When frustrated by the then Wellington Village Council, Bellissimo simply did what any person would do — move on to a more supporting community. The council has changed, and the bridges mended, and Wellington will now continue to prosper from a mutually beneficial relationship.

There are few leaders in the western communities with such wide, positive impact. The two with the most positive impact are certainly Mark Bellissimo and Jess Santamaria. Although both at times dealt with controversy, both have an overwhelming positive impact on our community.

Victor Connor, Homeland