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Wellington titans contributed $1.1M to PACs in 2 weeks before election


The negative ads are off the airwaves, the mailers have found their way to the recycling bin and the new Wellington council has been seated.

But new state reports released recently are showing just how expensive this election was.

Local political consultant Randy Nielsen called the $1.5 in contributions to candidates and Political Action Committees through February “mind-boggling,” but there was more to come.

Between March 1 and the March 15 election, contributions to PACs totaled more than $1.1 million, according to the state reports. The vast majority came from the village’s two most polarizing figures, Mark Bellissimo and Jeremy Jacobs.

Those totals make the end-result of more than $2.7 million spent on the election. With about 15,000 ballots cast, the two sides spent a total of about $181 per vote.

Two of the PACs were dedicated to the referendum questions and the other two hurled negative ads at the opposing candidates.

Taxpayers for Public Integrity raised $414,433 in March alone, adding to it’s $200,000 total from February. Three Bellissimo holdings — Equestrian Sport Productions, Gold Coast Feed and Broadview Realty — contributed $218,000, $102,000 and $90,000, respectively. It raised more money than any other statewide PAC in March.

Not far behind, and the second highest fund raising statewide PAC in March, was No to 3, a committee dedicated to getting people to vote against a hotel ban in the equestrian preserve. It eventually passed by a decisive margin.

“No to 3” raised $349, 500 in March, adding to $150,100 from February. All of the March money came directly from Equestrian Sport Productions, Gold Coast Feed and Broadview Realty.

Not to be outdone, the Jacobs Family’s two preferred PACs “Preserve and Protect Wellington” and “Citizens for Integrity in Government” raised $220,000 and $195,000 in the home-stretch. The former was dedicated to the referendum.

The vast majority of that money came from the billionaire family’s Delaware North Companies, which is boasted as the largest privately held company in the world.

The PAC that raised the most during the election was “Preserve and Protect Wellington,” which totaled $760,000. Next was Taxpayers for Public Integrity at $614,433. It was followed by Citizens for Integrity in Government at $545,000. And lastly No to 3 at $499,600.

The six candidates — four in contested races and two unopposed — raised just about $303,000.

To read the latest headlines from Wellington, go to palmbeachpost.com/wellington.


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