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?

By MSNMoney partner Oct 10, 2012 12:22PM

CNBC logoRobert Frank

 

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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1527Comments
Oct 10, 2012 6:28PM
Oct 10, 2012 6:27PM
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I'm sure he pays his employees or the majority of them minimum wage. He won't close that business, if he really does want to quit, he'll sell out and new owner needs employees. He's a bully.
Oct 10, 2012 6:27PM
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David Siegel is ignorant moron why scare your employee. Did you read the OBAMACARE and what it says. I think just sell my time share.
Oct 10, 2012 6:27PM
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 These 3 should ALWAYS be separate with no overlap...

 

Religion, Politics, and Business.      (unless the business IS politics.)

Oct 10, 2012 6:26PM
Oct 10, 2012 6:26PM
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Never ocurrs to these pshchopaths that they could reduce their own paychecks. 
Oct 10, 2012 6:26PM
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WE are all to blame in one way or other.  If we the people do not work together, then we deserve what we get.  Right now, we have half the country talking trash about one side and the other half talking the same trash but a different side.  We must come to realize that it is about time to quit paying for everbodies problems and get some backbone to start those business and hire those people for good wages and health benfits.  The banks have the money and there are many people who want to work.  The others who are capable but choose a life of getting a pay check for no labor get cut off.  The endless spending to countries who do not benefit the US get cut off.  The Massive waste of DoD programs, TDYs, and non working military/civil servants get cut off.  The pet projects for the senators and representatives get cut off.  We allowed this to go on and its been going on no matter who is in office.  Its time the hard working, tax paying folks stand up and be counted.

 

Oct 10, 2012 6:26PM
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What a crock! Siegel, time to retire Sir. You are blackmailing your workers. It has been my experience sir, that you were closing up shop regardless of who wins the election. And you do not want any disgruntled workers at your front door. You can sell your company to someone who understands how to make an American company work. Shame on you Siegel!!!!!!!!!
Oct 10, 2012 6:25PM
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 I just walked in the door from work, Started at 5 am and worked till 3:30 then drove 2 hours home. No breaks , no stopping for lunch just work through the entire day in order to be home before 7. I am the working class and I support individuals like Siegel who have made it. Contrary to what Maobama would like you to believe, the majority of rich americans sacrificed a portion of their lives to achieve what they have and deserve to spend it as they wish. Every single individual who doesn't go out daily to at least  try to achieve a portion of a dream has nothing BUT time to sit around and bitch about how someone or something is keeping them down.
Oct 10, 2012 6:25PM
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What an intimidating crock of BS this guy has. Back in the 50's, 60's, and 70's, Corporate taxes were at about 75% Companies, then, instead of paying all that tax, reinvested that money BACK INTO THE COMPANY. It didn't wind up in the CEO's pocket.

He is out of line and full of bull....!!!

Oct 10, 2012 6:23PM
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Let's see. Mr seigel seems to care little about his workers. If he's worried about Obamacare then he probably dosen't cover his employees with healthcare.

 

Go ahead Mr. seigel shut the doors and get out of business. Someone less greedy and more compassionate will step in and take over your contracts and business, perhaps treating their workers better.

Oct 10, 2012 6:22PM
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ObamaCare or The Affordable Care Act, is intended to help less fortunate folks afford and obtain health insurance. My premiums keep going up and my benefits go down, every year, just like before, so if you already have insurance, no big changes. My daughter lives with us at age 25, so has insurance coverage, now, but otherwise, no extra cost to me. It never ceases to amaze me, how many gullible Fox News viewers there are, that quote them like a religion. Half of our citizens refuse to think for themselves, anymore.  
Romney is a liar and job-outsourcer. Rich don't mean he's a good guy, far from it.  Mormon? Conveniently, I'm sure. In his little bubble of a world, I'm sure he thinks he is a good Christian. I doubt if all the folks who lost jobs, thanks to him, would agree.  But you know, when all the bad happens that is predicted if Mitt wins, Fox News will simply keep blaming the Democrats and liberals. How can a whole political party be so mistake-free, as the GOP????????????                                   Obviously, they are not. It is all spin, people. Don't get spinned, get smarter. Diversify your news sources and stop being a pawn of the deception machine that IS the GOP/Fox News. A pox on our nation's psyche, they are. Up with Truth!!!
Oct 10, 2012 6:22PM
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In History there was a Man that made Goverment Bigger, he made the News / Papers report on anything that was good for his goverment never anything BAD against his Set Goverment, he even had the Papers go after anyone who was against His Goverment. This Man alot of you in History knows whom i am speaking of ......J. Stalin.  Now compare whats going on in this country , Bigger Goverment , News / Papers reporting only what the Goverment wants reported and Papers and News going after any that rock the boat. As the Dem for SC said yesterday .... people of the US dont need to know the truth.   I thank god I VOTE on whom I feel is the best for the country not what some Party tells me to. 

BUT I ask one BIG question to all of you....  Wheres the Americans in this system ?

Oct 10, 2012 6:22PM
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Couldn't that be considered voter manipulation?


Oct 10, 2012 6:21PM
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I guess this is a new way for Seigel to force others to vote the way he wants... threaten to fire if you don't vote the way he says. What a greedy as*!

I work for a small business and the owner and I have had conversations over this bs about Obama and 'obamacare', which is what all this is about when it comes to the taxes. My boss says if anything, he expects to possibly get a tax break because he's already providing health care which is something any decent employer would provide. Shame on this nitwit!

Oct 10, 2012 6:18PM
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I saw on CNBC where the comment was made that the stock market has doubled since Obahma has been in office. However, my portfolio is still the same or just below what it was 5 years ago. I wonder what the stock market would have done if we had elected someone else into office? Maybe triple??? Who knows? It is really far reached to think this is a positive comment.....the market is still far below what it should be after 5 years. Perhaps, it's just over inflated again, perhaps the bottom will fall out again....the thing is no one knows for sure...
Oct 10, 2012 6:17PM
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I cant blame the entreprenureal genius for not wanting to contribute to the country that gave him the freedom to pursue his business dreams. Of course freedom comes at a high price. It sometimes requires young men and women born into the nontaxpaying 47 percent to give their lives in times of war. Rich people like Seigal use theri wealth to make sure their kids are never near the front lines or not in the military at all. Go buy some more elevators you douchebag.

Oct 10, 2012 6:16PM
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Who gave half a billion dollars to large contributors to start up a company that went belly up in less than two years? Wonder how much of that money was kicked back to Obama and his cronies. Do the math and figure how much you have to lose daily to go under. Did they ever sell anything. That should have been investigated then those cronies sent to prison. 
Who sent billions of dollars OVERSEAS to start up a car manufacturing company? Obama. He is soooo dumb he does not realize the economic problem is right here in America. At least, the one he should have worried about was here in America. Guess he figured there would be jobs selling cars while the real money was made overseas. The president has no idea about business. He has never worked or owned a business so has no idea how to do it or how to run this country. 
Obama thought when they said Run this country he thought RUIN this country. 
Oct 10, 2012 6:16PM
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Most here seem to think if you are against Obama you are for Romney. I would say not the case. Almost all politicians are crooked and in it for themselves. I will vote for Romney but he is not the answer. Obama...absolutely not the answer. Small businesses that are sucessfull right now got there in spite of all of them.
Oct 10, 2012 6:15PM
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This guy has gotta be a Mor(m)on.  They pretty much mind-screw their flock which way to do everything, including vote.  "I can't tell anyone  to vote..." he says, but what other message is there from this outright fatcat fool?  Not enough money to finish 'the biggest house in America'?  If i were an employee of his, i'd be looking into a class-action suit and a whole lot of other employees to join me.  If that isn't a blatant case of job discrimination, i don't know what else would be.  I'd sue his azz for a piece of his house.   It's on their backs he built it, of course with his Republican know-how.  And there ain't no 'rich-poor gap' in this country.  Yassah, Massa... i be votes fo' yo' boi fo' sho'.   Na gimme a nickel.
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