News: ‘Trouble in Paradise’
That’s the headline from an article in Boston Magazine— “paradise” being Wellington, and “trouble” being an appallingly narcissistic feud that has turned this upscale Florida equestrian village upside down.
A brief synopsis (the article itself rings in at a lengthy 7,144 words and, unlike some of the people quoted in the story, we know you probably have a job and stuff):
Jeremy Jacobs, owner of the Boston Bruins, whose family has owned land and competed horses in Wellington for over 30 years
Mark Bellisimo, a Boston entrepreneur and major player in the growth and development of Wellington and its crown jewel, the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, over the past decade
Under Bellisimo’s guidance, Wellington has blossomed and events at the International Equestrian Center have gotten bigger, more spectator-friendly and more economically viable. All good things, right? Jacobs and other upper-crust “Wellingtonites” don’t think so.
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.”
But wait, it gets even more pretentious. The best quote of the article is in response to an incident in which the grounds were contracted out to host a hip-hop concert in the off-season:
That didn’t go over too well,” said Mason Phelps, a former equestrian who today serves as a Jacobs family spokesman in Wellington [also proprietor of equestrian PR firm Phelps Media]. “Nor did we want to attract the kind of people the Akon concert would attract to this community…. The people that go and listen to and like Akon are not Wellingtonites. It’s just a different crowd of people. 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.”
Don’t worry, Mason, you don’t sound like a snob. You sound like a racist.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As you can imagine, the rest of the story is a cesspool of vicious politicking, sabotaged development projects, ridiculous-sounding lawsuits and dollar signs with multiple digits trailing behind.
Check out the full Boston Magazine story here. For further reading, SB Nation posted a pretty hilarious commentary here.
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