Screencap from Queen of Versailles Trailer
From Think Progress
David Siegel, who owns Florida-based Westgate Resorts, sent an email to all his employees yesterday to discuss the upcoming election. “The economy doesn’t currently pose a threat to your job,” Siegel wrote, noting that the company is “the most profitable [it's] ever been.” “What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration.” He went on to say that although he “can’t tell you whom to vote for,” if Obama is re-elected, it would mean “fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.”
. . . Siegel earned national notoriety this year for his quest to build the biggest house in America, “a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot mansion inspired by Versailles.”
Original Letter on Snopes.com
Full Email Here on Gawker, plus this:
UPDATE: Shortly after we posted this letter, we found out, thanks to multiple readers, that it bore suspicious resemblances to a popular chain letter that was circulated just before the 2008 elections. Well, we just got off the phone with David Siegel, who told us the letter below is real, and that it was sent out to all of his employees yesterday. "I did use the letter that had circulated before as a guideline, but I changed it [to fit my circumstances]," he told us. "It speaks the truth and it gives [employees] something to think about when they go to the polls." He also said that its threats of possible layoffs are real, based on his assessment of the political and economic climate. He added that he "hasn't had any negative feedback" on the letter.
Direct Quotes from Letter:
Subject: Message from David Siegel
Date:Mon, 08 Oct 2012 13:58:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: [David Siegel]
To: [All employees]
To All My Valued Employees,
As most of you know our company, Westgate Resorts, has continued to succeed in spite of a very dismal economy. There is no question that the economy has changed for the worse and we have not seen any improvement over the past four years. In spite of all of the challenges we have faced, the good news is this: The economy doesn't currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration. Of course, 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. In fact, I encourage you to vote for whomever you think will serve your interests the best.
So where am I going with all this? It's quite simple. 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. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.
So, when you make your decision to vote, ask yourself, which candidate understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn't? Whose policies will endanger your job? Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of protecting and saving your job.
You see, I can no longer support a system that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities. 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.
Signed, your boss,
Bloomberg: Siegel's Role in the 2000 Election of George Bush
“I’m not bragging, I’m just stating the fact: I personally got George W. Bush elected,” Siegel told me during two days of interviews. “I’m not proud of it. I feel like I’m responsible for all the problems in the world.” By that he meant, mostly, the then-deteriorating situation in Iraq.
Here’s Siegel’s account of how he swung the election in Bush’s favor: “Whenever I saw a negative article about [Al] Gore, I put it in with the paychecks of my 8,000 employees. I had my managers do a survey on every employee. If they liked Bush, we made them register to vote. But not if they liked Gore. The week before [the election] we made 80,000 phone calls through my call center—they were robo-calls. On Election Day, we made sure everyone who was voting for Bush got to the polls. I didn’t know he would win by 527 votes. Afterward, we did a survey among the employees to find out who voted who wouldn’t have otherwise. One thousand of them said so.”
From a Movie Review for "Queen of Versailles"
Pic and Review via Flickfilosopher
“Everyone wants to be rich,” says real-estate mogul David Siegel here, and that’s probably true. But few people would even conceive of doing with their riches what Siegel does with his. “Horror” isn’t too strong a word for it... and it’s clear that documentarian Lauren Greenfield was aiming for some good old-fashioned rubbernecking when she started shooting what became The Queen of Versailles during the height of America’s cheap-money, pass-the-risk bubble in the mid 2000s.
For Siegel and his wife, Jaqueline -- his third wife, and 30 years younger than him -- were building what would be the largest private residence in the United States, a gaudy monstrosity that would have, when finished, housed a bowling alley, three pools and a spa, 11 kitchens, a skating rink, a movie theater, and a 20-car garage. (This is not an all-inclusive description, but you can find one here, if you’re looking to have your stomach turned some more.) The master bedroom suite alone is, at 6,000 square feet, much larger than most entire homes. The Siegels actually had the gall -- or the ignorance -- to dub this pile Versailles. If either of them have any appreciation of the irony of taking inspiration and a name from the ultimate symbol of crass wealth and absolute privilege, they don’t show it.
Not even when, as happened to the former occupants of the first Versailles, it all comes crashing down around them. . . . More Here at Flickfilosopher
From a blog post on Baltimore City Paper by Edward Ericson Jr.
Siegel, 1999, recalling the rent-to-own store he opened in the early ‘60s in Miami:
“Soon Siegel had a store in Liberty City and a fleet of Volkswagon vans. His salesmen offered the refurbished sets to the area’s African-American residents for $10 down and $5 a week, he says, adding, ‘I only had about $10 in each one.’
Those $5 payments soon financed three stores, a gas station, a house with a pool and a Buick convertible. ‘My goal was to make $125 a week,’ Siegel says. ‘I usually exceeded that.’”
To be fair, he didn’t say whether the Buick convertible was new.
Shockingly, Siegel’s store got burned down in the riots and he ended up in Central Florida selling swamp land to gullible “investors.” He quickly went on his own and in a few years (if his 1999 recollection is to be believed) made millions on those undevelopable acres, mostly by touting their proximity to Disney World–but also by drawing up bogus development plans and occasionally clearing a dirt road. He sold to people in New Jersey, Mexico, and as far away as Belgium. State regulators and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development came after him, but he lawyered-up and stared them down. Most of the buyers of his properties (including the young man who would go on to become musical director of Gloria Estefan’s Miami Sound Machine) had little or nothing to show 20 years later.
What a d*ck. Will someone please let me know when it's time to storm the Bastille? I have my torch and pitchfork ready.
~ comment by SchoolOfStrange on Gawker
Short Version: For the last time, there is no such thing as class warfare. Now, things better go my way or I'll strip you of your livelihoods before I go off to live comfortably in the tropics.
~ comment by OldTowneTavern on Gawker
This is probably the most un-American thing I have ever seen. literally threatening his employees livelihoods to vote for one candidate over another.
~ comment by Nathan Penrose on Think Progress
We went to France and we saw Versaille and were inspired" to build a monstrous piece of crap in the middle of a swamp.
~ comment by homeblood3000 on YouTube
How about selling that garish chair and giving your minimum wage employees healthcare?
~ comment by Tuffy's Dad on Huff Post
The email does raise an interesting question or two, such as, if it’s true that “even to this day, every dime I earn goes back into this company,” where did all the money for that house come from? And if he made all the right decisions, why did he come so close to bankruptcy? Why does he blame government for the fact that he had to pull his eight kids out of private school? If he couldn’t support a family that large, why did he keep having children?
Under ordinary circumstances, I also wouldn’t think it necessary to pity poor Mr. Siegel. After all, he would seem to have more than enough pity for himself to fill all three swimming pools at Versailles, allowing him to wallow in that emotion to his heart’s content.
~ Jay Bookman, Atlanta Journal Constitution
If you've watched "The Queen of Versailles" you know how evil and disgusting these people are. No surprise there. huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2012…— Marcos Balter (@MarcosBalter) October 10, 2012
CEO from "Queen Of Versailles" threatens to fire everyone if Obama wins: gawker.com/5950189/the-ce… Oh just go Galt already & leave us in peace— Lisa (@Litzz11) October 9, 2012