Billionaire Defends Anti-Obama Memo to Workers

David Siegel Told Them How To Vote Because 'I Care'


By Reuters

Published October 11, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Multi Page

A Florida billionaire has told his employees he could be forced to lay off some of them if U.S. President Barack Obama wins a second term, calling his administration a threat to their jobs.

David Siegel, the owner of Orlando-based Westgate Resorts, the largest privately held time-share company in the world, said in an email to the firm’s 7,000 employees this week that he did not want to influence how they voted.

But he warned that “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.”

“You see, I can longer support a system that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive,” he continued. “My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities.”

Siegel, an outspoken businessman known for his flamboyant lifestyle, and his wife were the subjects of a recent documentary called “The Queen of Versailles” which documented their efforts to build what would be the largest privately owned home in the United States - a $100 million, 90,000-square-foot mansion just outside of Orlando.

Siegel confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday that he sent the memo and said it appeared to have been leaked by an employee who did not agree with his politics.

“This was a private memo just addressed to my employees,” he said. “I care about their well-being. I just wanted them to know before they go to vote that if Obama gets re-elected, with the new taxes that he’s going to impose … the company most likely is going to have to downsize.”

Tax policy is a central issue in the presidential campaign. Republican candidate Mitt Romney wants to extend lower tax rates set to expire on Dec. 31 for all income groups, while Obama has said he would extend the lower rates only for households earning up to $250,000.

Obama and Romney have both said the current 35 percent corporate tax rate should be reduced but disagree on the extent of the cut and ways to replace the revenue.

Siegel told Reuters in July that Westgate was faring well.

He said in an interview his company had rebounded from the recession and was now the most profitable it had been in its 30-year history. He said Westgate was hiring 1,500 new employees this year and fending off banks that “are throwing money at us.”

Siegel told his employees in the memo that “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.”

He described what he said were years of sacrifice to build the company.

“Even to this day, every dime I earn goes back into the company,” he said. “Over the past four years I have had to stop building my dream house, cut back on all of my expenses, and take my kids out of private schools simply to keep this company strong and to keep you employed.”

He added: “Yes, business ownership has its benefits, but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds. Unfortunately, the costs of running a business have gotten out of control and let me tell you why: We are being taxed to death and the government thinks we don’t pay enough.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.