Jacob Ventura. Credit: Ropes & Gray

Jacob Ventura, the attorney considering a run for Ward 3 council, has released a statement from the property manager of The Lofts at Wamsutta Place, stating that he is a resident of the sprawling apartment complex.

Wamsutta Place is an upscale set of residences and structures in former New Bedford waterfront mill buildings that opened in 2008. It is located within the boundaries of Ward 3.

“This letter is to serve as a confirmation that Jacob Ventura is a current resident of The Lofts at Wamsutta Place, location 24 Logan Street Unit N-526 NB -2740,” wrote Acorn property manager Nicole Steward in a communication dated Dec. 2.

The Lofts at Wamsutta Place. Credit: Jack Spillane / The New Bedford Light

Ventura released the letter along with a press release Wednesday afternoon to radio station WBSM-AM. The press release stated that it was in response to a column I wrote that explored concerns expressed in the community that Ventura was intending to run a campaign for Ward 3 councilor and was a “carpetbagger.” Ventura, a Republican, had previously been criticized for running a campaign for a state Senate seat as a carpetbagger in Attleboro in 2017. His family has roots in New Bedford and he grew up in Dartmouth and in New Bedford until he was 7½-years-old, he has told The Light.

The one-sentence release says the following: “In response to The New Bedford Light opinion column by Jack Spillane on December 4, 2022 and the subsequent interview between Tim Weisberg and Jack Spillane on WBSM 1420 AM on December 5, 2022, the Committee to Elect Jacob Ventura is releasing the following proof of residency document detailing Mr. Ventura’s current residence and registered voting address in Ward 3 of New Bedford, Massachusetts.”


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Ventura is a lawyer and this release strikes me as carefully worded.

It includes specific dates for both my column and WBSM appearance and a specific date for the letter from Acorn, the owner manager of the property.

It seems he may be trying to lay down a sequence here.

In my column, I quoted Ventura stating he lives in the apartment of Christopher Sheldon, a fellow Republican who has run for political office. I also quoted him saying that he does not want to live in recently resigned Ward 3 Councilor Hugh Dunn’s apartment in the same complex.

Ventura had told me last week that he had a sublease for Sheldon’s apartment and that he would furnish a letter from the property manager about that if I wanted. I told him to go ahead and furnish it to me, but I did not receive it until Wednesday.

I did not use Ventura’s statement about the sub-lease in the column published Monday because I was wary of putting it out there without documentation.

Ventura is now saying the document is “proof” that he resides in New Bedford. That’s fair enough, I guess, as legal proof of his residency. But I don’t think it says anything about whether he lives there on a day-to-day basis, or the concerns raised by others that he is running for elective office to represent a part of the city that, by his own admission, he only moved into in September.

As I said in my column, residency in a place may not be the most important consideration when voters choose a candidate for office. There are lots of factors that go into a decision, and the Ward 3 voters in the end may decide Ventura is the best candidate.


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Now, Ventura has written a letter to a competing news outlet outlining what he says are responses to my column and radio appearance. But I am hardly the only person in the community who has raised issues about Ventura’s residency for this ward race. Ventura subsequently released the information to me, and at my request to The Light’s editors.

I’ll leave it to the reader to decide what is going on here. I think my column and statements about Ventura have been more than fair. He even wrote me after the WBSM appearance, “Good job today on the air.”

Perhaps I’m overreacting. But given Ventura’s other comments that he intended to “hit back and hit back hard,” against any candidate who raised issues about his being a carpetbagger, I don’t think so.

Email Jack Spillane at jspillane@newbedfordlight.org.

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2 Comments

  1. Let’s focus on issues..my press release Monday will lay out a actual platform. I have been studying..I want to talk facts and New Bedford..Wbsm obviously wants Jacob.Even the big lefties there, say it’s no big deal..Sick of hearing it..Bad news I’d good news in a special election with 7 people. We are fighting for every vote.

  2. I think it begs a larger issue.
    How do you prove you’re from New Bedford?
    The characteristics that would cause someone to say, “Yep, he’s from New Bedford all right”.
    Taste for Linguiça pizza? As opposed to Fall River Chouriço pizza?
    Knowing what Linguiça is, in the first place?

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