Jacobs & Stadium Jumping Execs Sued by Global Dressage Festival’s Equestrian Sport Productions

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Mark Bellissimo wth his wife, Katherine. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Mark Bellissimo wth his wife, Katherine. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 18, 2016–Wellington Equestrian Partners that owns and organizes the Global Dressage and Winter Equestrian Festival filed suit Friday against Stadium Jumping and members of the Jacobs family alleging violations of a non-compete clause from a 2007 settlement between the two groups.

Jeremy Jacobs, his son Lou, directors of Stadium Jumping, Inc., along with Michael and Matt Morrissey and Solar Sportsystems were named in the suit filed in Circuit Court over a show jumping event held at the Jacobs Deeridge Farm in Wellington last month. The farm is across the street from the Global facility that the Jacobs family is seeking to have torn down.

The Deeridge Farm event occurred during the Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The two sides agreed to a settlement that ended multiple lawsuits and the Wellington Partners paid a large sum of money toward the non-compete clause.

Mark Bellissimo, chief executive of Wellington Equestrian Partners that owns the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center PBIEC), said: “We honor our agreements, we expect them to honor their agreements.”

He said he heard that Stadium Jumping, Inc. planned to expand the number of events next year so he felt he had to make a move now.

The non-compete and non-interference clauses were “among the most critical aspects of the settlement agreement,” according to the complaint.

Stadium Jumping, Inc. had still been running events in Tampa, which was allowed under the agreement.

The filing asked the court to prevent any future events and provide Wellington Equestrian Partners with attorney’s fees and other costs.

The Jacobs family suit filed in February 2012 seeks to have the Global facility torn down.

The suit by Wellington Equestrian Partners comes a day after announcing agreement to buy the International Polo Club and 245 acres surrounding it that gives the group control over the Global Dressage and Winter Equestrian Festival of jumpers and hunters in addition to the most prominent and largest polo club in North America.

The Jacobs’ Deeridge Farm sits right between the Global grounds and International Polo.