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Time-share mogul tells employees he'll cut jobs if Obama wins

October 27, 2012|By Shan Li
  • Westgate Resorts' David Siegel poses for photos with his wife, Jackie. He recently sent a companywide email suggesting that if President Obama is reelected, he will lay off workers.
Westgate Resorts' David Siegel poses for photos with his wife, Jackie.… (Lauren Greenfield / Magnolia…)

David Siegel, founder and chief executive of sprawling time-share company Westgate Resorts, is not known for subtlety.

There's his quest to build the largest private residence in America, a 90,000-square-foot shrine to opulence in Florida that was modeled on France's Versailles palace. There's his starring role in the documentary "The Queen of Versailles," which follows the home's construction and the effect of the Great Recession on his firm and family. Then there are his claims that he was personally responsible for getting George W. Bush elected president in 2000 (perhaps by illegal means, Siegel slyly suggests in the movie).

The businessman recently ventured further into politics by sending a companywide email suggesting that if President Obama is reelected, he will lay off workers.

"The economy doesn't currently pose a threat to your job," Siegel wrote. "What does threaten your job, however, is another 4 years of the same presidential administration."

He assured workers that "as your employer, I can't tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn't interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose."

But then he dropped what sounds like an ultimatum: "If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current president plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company."

Siegel went on to blame the president and the news media for creating a toxic environment that pits employers against employees, the 1% against everyone else, the haves against the have-nots.

"They want you to believe that we live in a class system where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer," the letter says. "They label us the 1% and imply that we are somehow immune to the challenges that face our country."

"This could not be further from the truth," it continues. "Sure, you may have heard about the big home I am building. I'm sure many people think that I live a privileged life. However, what you don't see and hear is the true story behind any success that I have achieved."

Siegel recounted the sacrifices he made for the company while his friends "got regular jobs," worked 40 hours a week and "drove flashy cars and lived in expensive houses" while spending "every dime they earned."

Now that the good times are over and the economy is staggering along, Siegel wrote, he and others like him are being forced to bail out all the people who didn't sacrifice.

Well, Siegel apparently isn't going to take it anymore.

If Obama gets a second term, "my motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities," his letter warns. "If that happens, you can find me in the Caribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree, retired, and with no employees to worry about."

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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