CEO to workers: If Obama wins, you're fired
This from someone who became a symbol of outsized spending, debt and real estate in America?
David Siegel, the owner of Westgate Resorts, sent a surprising email to his employees Monday.
It said that if President Barack Obama wins re-election and raises Siegel's taxes, he will have to lay off workers and downsize his company — or even shut it down.
"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," he wrote. "Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone."
In a version of Romney's "47 percent" remarks, Siegel added that "people like me who made all the right decisions and invested in themselves are being forced to bail out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed 42 years of my life for."
The points are ones that have often been made during this election. But what makes the letter surprising is the source.
David Siegel is the man who, together with his wife, Jackie, built the largest new house in America, known as "Versailles." His story first appeared in my book "The High-Beta Rich." It then made it to the big screen with the documentary film "The Queen of Versailles."
They became symbols of outsized spending, debt and real estate in America.
But when the company started buckling under $1 billion in debt during the crisis, the Siegels' home went into foreclosure and was put up for sale. They cut back on the jet, took the kids out of private school and gave up some of their staff. (Read more: Social Media's Billion-Dollar Rollercoaster)
So why is David Siegel — a man who defined excess and debt in the 2000s — now saying that debt and spending are ruining the country?
I asked David and during a phone interview last night, and he told me that this was about his workers, not him. He said his own finances have vastly improved. He has paid off all of his major lenders. "I have enough money for the rest of my life and enough to leave a good inheritance for our kids." He said the loan for Versailles is paid off and he's resuming construction on the home.
"The elevators are going in and they're preparing to put in the marble."
The deal with Versailles' lenders, he went on, worked out "better than I imagined," since he was allowed to go nine months without making any interest payments on the loan. Jackie has several offers for a new reality TV show "which we're in the process of ranking and evaluating," Siegel said.
He has learned his own painful lesson from the debt crunch. "We cut back, we're lean and mean. That's what the rest of the country has to do."
Siegel said he's acting not out of self-interest but for the interest of his workers. While Westgate has never been more profitable, the company has 5,000 fewer workers than in 2007.
He said that if Obama is re-elected and imposes Obamacare and higher taxes, he may just have to let more of his remaining 7,000 workers go. He said he might even shut down the company. (Read more: Why Larry Ellison Needs a $4 Billion Loan)
"The combination of Obamacare and taxes would be a disaster," he said. "I would probably just call it a day and that would be a disaster."
Siegel stressed that he wasn't out to intimidate his workers into voting for Romney. "I can't tell anyone to vote," he said. But he wants to make sure his workers make an informed choice. "I want my employees to be educated on what could happen to their future if the wrong person is elected."
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As long as I have enough money to pay the bills and buy some beer, I'm a happy camper. But then again, I'm not greedy like these scumbags.
Pro business policies do not exist with this administration. They would help to expand business increase revenue, and create new employment. Legislation that cuts into revenue adds expenses there is a point the bottom line dictates it is not worth being in business.
David Siegel is an idiot..........as a business owner myself our federal tax rates are at some of the lowest rates in history. State and local taxes are killing small business, not federal taxes. if Romeny wins the economy will tank using the GOP economic plans of the GWB. If you believe lower taxes equate to a strong economy and wealth you too are an idiot as you have not read history or understand economics.
We are at some of the lowest federal tax rates in history..............that's right. What most like Mr Siegel fail to understand or admit is State and local taxes are hurting the small business 10X what the federal taxes are.
Look at our tax rate history and prove me wrong.............I challenge anyone here to prove that our federal tax rates are not at some of the lowest in history.............
If Siegel was a competent capitalist he wouldn't be running so threadbare. And if he was a moral human, he wouldn't be spewing this degeneracy.
His employees would do well to get gone now and find a respectable person to work for.
he's been going under since the early 2000's and now he's trying to justify his overspending lavish lifestyle to this president. LIES!!! He's indirectly forcing his staff to vote romney by threat of losing there employment
excuse me buddy, but who do you think has been bailing out YOUR rich behind?
Yup, those very same middle-class employee's you are now threatening.
Who bailed out the banks? The middle classes
Who bailed out the auto industry? The middle classes.
Who is being taxed at a higher % of their income? - The middle classes
So buddy, until you start to pay AN EQUAL PERCENTAGE of TAXES on your income - don't threaten us. Get out of the US of A and take your crappy company with you (have stayed at Westgate - cockaroaches and dead animals were in my condo! What a dump.
Beware rich people, the uprising is coming - We the people are not going to put up with your GREED and SELFISHNESS and outragous profits any more.
Pay people a LIVING WAGE - we work just as hard making companies work right.
All you do is spend money on material things.
this fellow won't be alone
get ready for republicans coming out of the woodwork to vote out the celebrity rock star
Translated to: I have more than I can possibly ever used, but if I have to give any of the excess I am "still getting" up I will exact genocide on the 5000 plus people that bust their butts for me just because I can.
This is not a great business man and does not care one bit about the people that made him rich. He is a wart on humanities a$$.
Get out of the way so someone "less greedy" can take over your position in the business world and have an opportunity to do well also, Maybe one of the people that presently work for you.
This is nothing but pure GREED
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Breaking up big banks is an untested solution to the too big to fail problem that attempts to isolate and dismantle large, troubled institutions while protecting the rest of the economy.
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