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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These 3 should ALWAYS be separate with no overlap...
Religion, Politics, and Business. (unless the business IS politics.)
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.
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....!!!
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.
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 ?
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!
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.
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.
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