I was reading around on the web and found this article from Gawker about David Siegal, a major real estate mogul and head of Westgate Resorts from Florida who gained notoriety from a documentary movie called The Queen of Versailles. A film of him and his wife’s riches to rags story as a result of the 2007-2010 financial crisis. Well he’s back again during this volatile election year when people are going on around and about deciding who shall run this nation, Siegal comes around and does what every billionaire does when politicians with their bullshit promises threatens their bottom line: whine. But he did it in a special way would make Ayn Rand blush. He sends an email that by some reports was based on a chain letter email back from the last election threatening to fire his employees if President Obama gets re-elected.
Right off the bat you immediately think of the words “voter intimidation” but it he doesn’t put it like that, at least what the message itself says. I would like to take this moment to break down the infamous email and add my input to it section by section. Ready?
Subject: Message from David Siegel
Date:Mon, 08 Oct 2012 13:58:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: [David Siegel]
To: [All employees]
To All My Valued Employees,
As most of you know our company, Westgate Resorts, has continued to succeed in spite of a very dismal economy. There is no question that the economy has changed for the worse and we have not seen any improvement over the past four years. In spite of all of the challenges we have faced, the good news is this: 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. Of course, as your employer, I can’t tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn’t interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose. In fact, I encourage you to vote for whomever you think will serve your interests the best.
The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job? Yes it does! Because there’s always a number of factors that can drastically change your business and you don’t need politicians to do that always. I wonder if that would include, voting for your local politicians as well? Also Governors, Mayors and other low-level officials can do just as much damage to your job than the actions of the president and congress. And the part of him telling his employees that he doesn’t tell them who the vote for, he shouldn’t have tell them anything at all about that at all.
However, let me share a few facts that might help you decide what is in your best interest.The current administration and members of the press have perpetuated an environment that casts employers against employees. They want you to believe that we live in a class system where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. They label us the “1%” and imply that we are somehow immune to the challenges that face our country. This could not be further from the truth. Sure, you may have heard about the big home that I’m building. I’m sure many people think that I live a privileged life. However, what you don’t see or hear is the true story behind any success that I have achieved.
I seen your house man, it’s a really crappy knockoff! I don’t know what you were thinking when you came up with the idea to even build that, and all of it from timeshares? Also I can be sure that the people are too busy worrying about their job security to care about how you got rich in the first place.
I started this company over 42 years ago. At that time, I lived in a very modest home. I converted my garage into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you. We didn’t eat in fancy restaurants or take expensive vacations because every dollar I made went back into this company. I drove an old used car, and often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice. Meanwhile, many of my friends got regular jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a nice income, and they spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into this business —-with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford to buy whatever I wanted. Even to this day, every dime I earn goes back into this company. 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.
So you never once saved your earnings outside of reinvestment? Okay, and yet you come out on top as a billionaire while most of us just struggle to keep up things ranging from keeping the lights on to staying alive. And you had to stop building that god-awful house because the bubble burst in the housing market. You know people like you perpetuate and idiots who bought into the American dream idea can’t deal with the payments on time just so they can live like you.
Just think about this – most of you arrive at work in the morning and leave that afternoon and the rest of your time is yours to do as you please. But not me- there is no “off” button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have that freedom. I eat, live, and breathe this company every minute of the day, every day of the week. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. I know many of you work hard and do a great job, but I’m the one who has to sign every check, pay every expense, and make sure that this company continues to succeed. Unfortunately, what most people see is the nice house and the lavish lifestyle. What the press certainly does not want you to see, is the true story of the hard work and sacrifices I’ve made.
So do we! What about the people who have to work overtime for little to no money? The staff at the hospital who have to sacrifice those weekends and holidays just to get that extra income after deductions? I worked for the parks department and I loose federal holidays because the people who get that day off demands me to be there for their recreation. The higher-ups don’t get that option to enjoy that weekend as well. Also if you do all these things, why would you blow all that money on that shitty house and lavish lifestyle if you’re not around most of the time to enjoy it?
Now, the economy is falling apart and 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. 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. We pay state taxes, federal taxes, property taxes, sales and use taxes, payroll taxes, workers compensation taxes and unemployment taxes. I even have to hire an entire department to manage all these taxes. The question I have is this: Who is really stimulating the economy? Is it the Government that wants to take money from those who have earned it and give it to those who have not, or is it people like me who built a company out of his garage and directly employs over 7000 people and hosts over 3 million people per year with a great vacation?
So do we as taxpayers and feel the same way but you’re sounding like you and all of the rich are responsible for the all of the bailouts. Stop being so fucking selfish asshole, we’re bailing them out too don’t you think we feel the same way? Also you need to focus on who you’re blaming in this whole ordeal, the state or the federal government because for example unemployment, that’s mostly state tax money, federal unemployment kind of ended. To think about it do states often give benefits to companies in order to grow, “stay clean” and hire more employees? Hmm, he must have missed that memo.
Obviously, our present government believes that taking my money is the right economic stimulus for this country. The fact is, if I deducted 50% of your paycheck you’d quit and you wouldn’t work here. I mean, why should you? Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, that’s what happens to me.
The wording of this could not be any more insanely idiotic if he tried. And if you were to come around and take 50% of my paycheck, not only I wouldn’t work there but you would get a knock on the door from the states labor department. Besides my check is already taken with taxes just to keep your company going, it’s really full circle when you step back and look at it work.
Here is what most people don’t understand and the press and our Government has chosen to ignore – to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Instead of raising my taxes and depositing that money into the Washington black-hole, let me spend it on growing the company, hire more employees, and generate substantial economic growth. My employees will enjoy the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But that is not what our current Government wants you to believe. They want you to believe that it somehow makes sense to take more from those who create wealth and give it to those who do not, and somehow our economy will improve. They don’t want you to know that the “1%”, as they like to label us, pay more than 31% of all the taxes in this country. Thomas Jefferson, the author of our great Constitution, once said, “democracy” will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
Should that mean that “we” the people pay that much in taxes? also didn’t anyone know that’s not how democracy works, we’re a republic. Believe it or not that are some who actually want to work but thanks to society’s demand to reach to the top, we come out heavy in debt and the arrogant preconceived wants of a good employee thanks to people like you forces people like us to spiral down to either give up or take lower-class jobs and show absolutely nothing for it.
Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate business, not kill it. However, the power brokers in Washington believe redistributing wealth is the essential driver of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change they want.
Not ingenuity, the progress of fellow Americans, or most importantly free enterprise is what makes it the heart of America?
So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple. 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. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.
And so the circle is complete.
So, when you make your decision to vote, ask yourself, which candidate understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn’t? Whose policies will endanger your job? Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of protecting and saving your job. While the media wants to tell you to believe the “1 percenters” are bad, I’m telling you they are not. They create most of the jobs. If you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the “1%”; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country.
Try telling to the other 1 percenters who don’t think the way you do.
You see, I can no longer support a system that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities. If that happens, you can find me in the Caribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree, retired, and with no employees to worry about.
Opportunities that you define, it was never about us. We can find opportunities somewhere else you will only lose your workforce. Also stay there Siegal. Really stay there and don’t come back because while you sit on the beach not worrying about employees shows that you never care about your employees and more of never having to lose another cent to them. We’ll just sit here and struggle to find equal and better work in a state economy that did more damage than the federal government does and a society that forces us to aspire to be something we can never be.
Signed, your boss,
Signed, your commenter with my fist to your face and my foot up your ass,
You have to look at this letter, read it again and sleep on it just to even comprehend what this means overall. I mean did he even had a lawyer look over this and tell him “Uh, this is not a good idea to tell your employees this. It’s voter intimidation at best.” Nope, he sent it out and just wait for the reactions to pour in and state he didn’t mean this to tell people who the vote for. Well nice try you can convince the people who don’t have to worry about loosing their jobs but you can’t say the same who already have that “be lucky you got a job” mentality.
Also out of this video from reporters he states he’s unapologetic and he even had some well-wishers from the emails he get. I would suspect that ether fake, Romney supporters or people who don’t have worry about loosing their job working with him because we all know when it comes to making cutbacks and lay-offs it’s always the people who don’t work out well or the real hard workers who do the good job but just not good enough to be a liability any more when its convenient.
Also, no. Voting for either candidate won’t make a difference Obama already proved he can’t make good on his promises, what makes you believe the other guy won’t do the same. Of course that the Florida department of state says that there’s no issue with it and he didn’t make anything that implies he’s telling people how to vote but you can’t shake off that uncertainty statement he made earlier. Letting your employees fear the future when they go into the polls is more effective than telling them who the vote for and vice versa.
I really have no sympathy for this man, his trophy wife or his 90,000 money pit he threw himself in. He has every right to voice is opinions but to give your employees that kind of impression in the form of “I JUST FIRED MY EMPLOYEES BECAUSE OF YOU OBAMA!!! YOU MADE ME DO THIS!!!” Just shows you’re more at fault than he is. Voting for Obama would lead to uncertainly? Pssh! So will Romney or your state if things go awry. You can say anything Siegal but really, just go to hell.
- The CEO Who Built Himself America’s Largest House Just Threatened to Fire His Employees if Obama’s Elected [Updated: Or Not?] [The Rich] (gawker.com)
- Billionaire CEO threatens to fire employees if Obama is re-elected (rawstory.com)
- Mesa resort owner threatens to fire workers if Obama beats Romney (bizjournals.com)
- David Siegel and the billionaire’s sad lament (blogs.ajc.com)
- David Siegel Email To Workers Threatens Layoffs If Obama is Reelected (UPDATE) (huffiningtonpost.com)
- Arrogance of Wealth (youtube.com)