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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This super rich guy has that Romney disease call ......Bain Capital. A disease exclusively gotten by Corporate Raiders from their greed.
ie I stole mine the heck with the 47% percent'ers they're on their own. My Swiss and off shore Bank accounts are mine.
David Siegel is just stating fact, all who vote for Obama in this next electing will be voting themselves or someone they know out of a job and will even be voting for higher taxes on themselves as raising taxes on just the wealthy won't create enough revenue to pay for all the government hand outs due to a stagnated economy directly caused by the Obama administrations Socialist policies. Businesses will lay off and down size, because of the added expense of Obamacare and new taxes, combined with a slow economy. I can't believe how many people are following Obama like little lost sheep needing a shepherd to guide them. Mr.Obama took you all for a ride 4 years ago promising Hope and Change, spreading wealth and he himself said he'd fix the economy in 3 years and if not he'd be a one term President. None of what he promised happened and none are doing any better. Will you fall for the Obama rhetoric again ? It's time to make Obama one term President and get real President that will create jobs and a good economy. Mitt Romney has the proof he can and will do it, he has done it as Governor in Massachusetts and Massachusetts has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.
Now I knida wish Obama was a socialist, so he could Tax this jerk into the poor house!
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