Billionaire timeshare CEO to employees: there'll be fewer jobs around here if Obama is re-elected

David Siegel, the billionaire CEO of the highly profitable Florida-based Westgate Resorts timeshare company, has sent a letter to all his employees implying that they'll all get fired if Obama is elected. Concerning Mr Siegel, ThinkProgress notes "Siegel earned national notoriety this year for his quest to build the biggest house in America, 'a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot mansion inspired by Versailles.'"

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.

However, let me share a few facts that might help you decide what is in your best interest.


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.

Billionaire CEO Threatens To Fire Employees If Obama Wins (via Wil Wheaton)


    1. Agreed.

      I would call him a terrible asshole, except calling him a terrible asshole – TA – would be inaccurate ’cause a couple of my university instructors were TAs, the dude over the fence I suspect is a TA, my grandma (aleha ha-shalom) said one of her husband’s nieces was a  TA and etcetera, if you get my drift. 

      No, Siegel would be simply venal if he were a simply a TA. 

      Romney, Siegel, Smeagol and the rest endeavour to fleece the 99 percent AND 90 percent of the 1 percent. The Plutocrats-Oligarchs here resent most of the rich folks as much as they resent the middle and other classes.

      Here is a link to an interesting article (never thot M. Frum might write this, though I suspected he had a shred of dignity and rational thot) –

      1.  So.  He does the math and finds out that the company is not exactly rolling in the money.  Se simply tells his employees that more taxes without economic recovery will cost jobs.  He also believes that Obama will raise taxes.  I do agree that it is a bit of an asshole action, but there might be a grain of truth there.

        Obama wants to tax the rich.  Companies file taxes just like people, so increasing taxes on companies will impact their ability to hire.

        My CEO came out and said that money made overseas generally stays overseas — which means hiring engineer overseas.  This is because, to bring the money back to the US and hire American engineers would cost a LOT of taxes, so the economic incentive is to leave the money OUT of the US.

        I do believe that the rich need to pay their fair share — no doubt.  But increasing the tax rate is not the answer.  It would be much better to close loopholes.  It really does anger me when big companies making billions of dollars try every trick to avoid taxes — take for example Google – a US company.  Check the wikipedia page:

        Consequently, out of the five largest American technology companies it pays the lowest taxes to the countries of origin of its revenues. This is accomplished partly by licensing technology through subsidiaries in Ireland, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Netherlands.

        This is the sort of thing that needs to go away — not raising taxes on the rich in general.

        1. Obama wants to tax the rich.

          Funny how liberals are always accused of imagining corporate assholes as “mustache-twirling villains” but the same sort of paranoiac demonization from “fiscal conservatives” goes without mention.  Do you really think Obama sits around fantasizing about taking money away from rich people?  Do you think any significant number of liberals do?

          This is the sort of thing that needs to go away — not raising taxes on the rich in general.

          You haven’t really made a good argument for this.  The fact remains that during all the most prosperous times in US history rich folks were taxed at a much higher rate than they currently are.  In fact, the rate on rich folks is essentially as low as it’s ever been.

          But increasing the tax rate is not the answer.  It would be much better to close loopholes.

          Why not both?  That is, increase the marginal rate, not the rate overall.  And cut payroll taxes.  I support tax cuts in situations where they make people’s lives better.

          Realistically, the scenario here doesn’t make much sense.  Corporations are only taxed on their profits so it’s hard to see how increasing taxes would actually force this guy to scale back — if he just reinvests the revenue back into the company it won’t be taxed (IIUC, please correct me if I’m wrong here).  Also, if the guy on the gilded throne in the OP is so concerned about his company’s revenues maybe he should cut himself a smaller paycheck?

          1. Obama has three choices really.  He can cut spending, raise taxes, or some combination of both.  I’m assuming his proposals are a reflection of what he actually ‘wants to do’.  His proposal increases taxes on the rich.  If he’s not being forced against his will to make this proposal, then he actually ‘wants to tax the rich’.  

            The whole mustache twirling thing is on you.

            From the LA Times: Obama wants to keep tax rates at their current levels for most Americans, but raise rates on income above $200,000 a year for individuals and $250,000 for couples. The top tax bracket would rise from 35% to 39.6%.

            Like I said, he wants to raise taxes on the rich. It’s like robin hood only not illegal. Weird.

          2. Suppose I’m rock-climbing with someone, tied to them, and they fall.  The situation is such that if I don’t cut them loose we will both die, so I cut the rope.  Does it follow that I wanted to kill my climbing buddy?

            In reality, all politicians would like to cut taxes.  It is a politically easy and popular thing to do.  I bet Obama wishes for nothing more than to be able to cut taxes across the board — it would really help his reelection chances in a few months.  The fact that politicians occasionally do call for raising taxes is a testament to the fact that it is sometimes necessary to do so (as a matter of political reality; obviously in some fictional idealized world we could just cut spending as much as we want, but that’s not realistic).

            But you didn’t just say “Obama wants to increase tax revenue for the sake of reducing the budget deficit.”  You said “Obama wants to tax rich people.”  That really gives the impression that you think Obama is sitting around, rubbing his hands together and cackling with glee about how he’s gonna stick it to those richies this time.  So no, the mustache twirling thing is on you.

        2. “But increasing the tax rate is not the answer.”

          Nonsense. It’s absolutely the answer. In fact, it’s the only answer that companies will abide by. We’ve tried “trickle-down” economics. It’s horse shit. A rising tide does NOT in fact lift all boats as Saint Reagan once claimed. We’ve tried letting Wall St. and big business regulate themselves under Bush Jr. That brought us to the brink of another Great Depression. No, taxes & regulations are not the enemy. Greed & corruption are!

  1. The Gawker article says quoting him:

    He added that he “hasn’t had any negative feedback” on the letter.,

    His employees probably haven’t given him any negative feedback because they fear he would fire them if they did.

  2. Good riddance. If a company can’t weather ordinary tax-rates then it is poorly run and dependent on corporate welfare. Furthermore, any jobs such a company might offer are barely real jobs, and serve to occlude the real statistics on joblessness in America.

    The faster corps like this go out of business like they threaten, the better we will all be.

    1. Exactly. Since when did the harsh Social-Darwinian “if you die you deserved it” mentality only apply to individual human beings while  corporations must be “saved” at all costs no matter how pathetic and parasitic they are.

    2. They won’t go out of business – his salary will just go down a smidgen.  Removing part of your workforce to maintain an over-inflated salary is both immoral, and bad business.

  3. Is that a dead animal or a really, really privileged pet sprawled out on that piano?
    * * *
    The photo above looks like something that would be ‘shopped to illustrate a story in The Onion  about a rich dickhead.

    1. It amazes me how cheap expensive crap can look. Actually I’ve always been sort of amazed by that. With all that money you just *know* he is not hiring a decorator. 

    2. My first impression was of a fluffy white cat, and I wondered why he didn’t have the cat in his lap.

    3. It’s the flensed hide of Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s cat.  And the chair he’s sitting in was cast from the melted gold teeth of deceased employees.  Both of which are proof positive that money can’t buy taste.

  4. The Onion should parody:  “This Billionaire will shoot this dog if you vote for Obama” (..y’know from the ancient National Lampoon cover..?)

  5. He’s not just a jerk.  He’s a jerk who plagerizes urban legends.  90% of his letter was copied from the letter on  Note to rich jerks everywhere:  you can afford to be original and pay a writer to come up with a new version that is equally entertaining.

    1. I came across that last night.
      At this point, my brain is so boggled that I don’t know what to think.
      Is Andy Kaufman alive and well and pretending to be the world’s largest douche in Florida?

  6. “If any new taxes are levied…”
    If I remember correctly the current administration just want’s the old tax cuts to sunset so this wouldn’t be a new tax per se.

    1.  See, if a godless librul traitor lets a tax cut expire, or closes a loophole, it’s a new tax.   When a god fearing patriot like St. Ronald Reagan does it, it’s tax simplification and totally righteous.

  7. Is that man trying to squander all the good will the Florida time-share sector currently enjoys?

    It saddens me to something like this when I think of all the years spent by hardworking Florida time-share sales reps building a reputation for honesty, integrity, and fairness.

  8. It looks like Cruella Siegel forced the family dog into ‘early retirement’, ahead of future jobs cuts.

  9. reminds me of the south park episode on timeshare meeting / seminars where parents are trying to escape from the sales people. What a totalitarian asshole… lets see how things goes with a pathetic mormon jesus freak at the head of the states.

  10. If his personal taxes go up he has to downsize the company?  That strongly suggests that either he’s full of shit and/or he’s been up to some illegal accounting shenanigans.

    The taxes he pays on the income he derives from the company have nothing to do with the company’s finances.  If he’s making $10M a year, he’s costing the company $10M regardless of how much of that $10M he winds up sending to the IRS.

    1.  Unless he runs it as an S-Corporation, in which case it pays taxes via his personal income taxes. Unlikely though, since its a publically traded entity.

      But anyway, I think you miss the subtext of what he said, which can be summarized as: “If I’m not making at least as much after the next election (and preferably more), then I will fire people”. He’s not interested in the niceties of corporate accounting – he just wants his slice to remain (super)sized or to grow.

  11. How is this even legal? isn’t there some prohibition against threatening employees with termination if they don’t vote the way you tell them to?

    1. It’s been very carefully worded so that he has plausible deniability.  Well, not so plausible to anyone who has a brain and knows how to use it.

      One thing I wonder: it’s Florida, so what’s the likelihood he can get access to the voting record of his employees to check who they voted for?  Not that I think he’s irrationally vindictive or anything.

      1. I agree; instead, what that told me is he probably didn’t write the piece himself.  Correct grammar is not a tea party strength.

        Or a CEO strength: people who write well are “wordsmiths”, which is said in such a way as to make it clear that means merely a day-laborer-working-with-words as opposed to someone with actual skills….not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything.

  12. OK so there may be lots not to like about the author of this letter, but consider this:

    There is a piece of truth in what he writes: rich people actually can choose to downsize their company. Actually can choose to *respond* to tax rates.  When a rich person says “I’m not going to bother making 3 million next year, I’ll only make 2 million” that is a threat they can follow through on.
    The less of the profit you keep the less interesting that additional profit is.  Also keep in mind that in addition to the time and energy that you expend earning that profit, you are very likely also putting your money at risk in the process of doing so.  And the amount of risk you expose yourself to stays the same despite the fact that the profit for doing so goes down the higher the tax rate you are facing.  So when you have a high tax rate, the safer call may become choosing to have a smaller business and a smaller profit but with less overhead (and yes, employees are overhead).

    I think this is hard for poor and middle class people to understand because for most of them the idea of turning down an opportunity make money is absurd. They can’t do it. You turn down that opportunity and you don’t eat, or your kid can’t go to that private school, or … – most people live close enough to exceeding their means that they can’t meaningfully respond to tax changes.  Rich people do have that luxury, and that is *always* going to be true.

    I think taxing profits/income is crazy. Rich people are always going to be unfairly advantaged by such a system – they can afford to spend the money on countermeasures.  Poor people can’t.

    If you tax land and nothing but land the entire problem goes away. It removes perverse incentives in the economy, eliminates a lot of unnecessary paperwork, and is actually way more fair – if you can afford to use a lot of land, you can afford to pay more taxes.  If you can’t afford lots of taxes then use less land.

    1. I think taxing profits/income is crazy. Rich people are always going to be unfairly advantaged by such a system – they can afford to spend the money on countermeasures.  Poor people can’t.

      Obvious solution: use the tax system to take as much money as possible from the poors, since they don’t have any leverage to use to prevent it. Hell, maybe we can get them on a financial treadmill so they spend all their time and energy just making enough to spend on food and shelter, and they won’t even feel motivated to vote. Meanwhile we all cower in fear of the wealthy cutting off their nose to spite their face.

      1. Umm that would be what we do now with our current system.

        Ever had the experience of hiring a plumber and then when it comes time to settle the bill, they offer one price if you are paying cash and don’t need a receipt, and a price 30% higher if you want a receipt. I’ve had that offer made to me more than once, and it made me really upset each time.

        The “discount” is the income taxes they get to avoid by not declaring that income.

        Income/profits taxes are built into the cost of everything you buy. Everything is more expensive because of them, and poor people have a harder time because of it.

        1. You know, the IRS takes anonymous tips, right?  They *love* hearing about people like your plumber.

    2. I can’t figure out if the best part about your plan is the centralisation of the poors into towering apartment megacity slums, the lack of foresight as to who pays for social land such as parks, roads and government buildings or the massive disincentives for anything that can’t use land vertically like the agricultural, clean energy, and natural resources industries.

      (rich people always bother to earn that 3 million even when they threaten not to and they experience much less financial risk than any other income demographic precisely because they know how to insulate and hide their income and assets from their actions)

      1. “I can’t figure out if the best part about your plan is the centralisation of the poors into towering apartment megacity slums, the lack of foresight as to who pays for social land such as parks, roads and government buildings or the massive disincentives for anything that can’t use land vertically like the agricultural, clean energy, and natural resources industries.””Social” land can be paid for by the land taxes on “non-social” land.”Towering megacity slums” are quite efficient.  And in many cities, condo towers are not “slums” but in fact are considered one of the most desirable and are one of the most expensive places to live. Regarding agriculture, the price people will be able and willing to pay for food will be significantly higher because they will not have income taxes to deal with. To the extent that it is a disincentive, it would be only the appropriate disincentive by pricing in the opportunity cost of using that land for agricultural use as opposed to other uses. Also note that it isn’t necessarily the case that land used agriculturally need have the exact same tax rate.” they experience much less financial risk than any other income demographic precisely because they know how to insulate and hide their income and assets from their actions)”You say this as if this is a good thing.  I want a society where everyone has the *opportunity* to become wealthy. And I think a system where you need to have a lot of money for lawyers and tax people and accountants reduces the opportunity for the average person to become wealthy.Personally I’ve realized that the tax savings I will experience by moving to a jurisdiction where I don’t have to pay income taxes on most of my income will more than pay for the costs of my move and will cover all of my living expenses in my new home.I’ve booked my flight and I’m leaving in January.As a result none of the people I will be hiring over the next year will be in the G8 country I’m leaving.  I think it’s ridiculous that I have to leave just so that I don’t have to spend a fortune (which I don’t have, but my larger competitors do) on tax planning. I’m not “rich” yet, but I know I will be within a couple years. I also know that if I don’t leave now a lot of the money that my business will generate will go to the government instead of me.  That’s not fair.  I do not consume millions of dollars of government services, I shouldn’t pay millions in taxes.I see paying taxes as paying rent on residency.  $1000/day in rent just to live in the country I grew up in is insane.

        1. So your scheme is tax people on the land and nothing but the land they use PLUS the land they don’t personally use but is communal and exempt from the market force of taxation intended to encourage the use of less land PLUS agricultural et al subsidies. But its okay because in the end the lack of income tax will somehow make everyone so much more affluent because they’re not paying income tax, despite the fact that the costs of providing the social functions of government are still there except now they’re almost certainly being passed along wholesale by wealthy landowners to their captive tenants and you’ve reinvented feudalism.

          I do not say that as a good thing. I said that simply as a counter to your statement that their incomes would go down while their risk remains the same and that would disincentivise them to earn more if faced with higher income tax, making it sound like high earners are high riskers and deserve the rewards for that – the reality is that high earners do so at a much lower risk than others and that’s why they tend to remain high earners.

          It’s basically impossible for you to pay the government more than the cost of both the services and subsidies you directly and indirectly benefit from. Your country will be financially better off without you.

        2. The rest of this was equally false, but I had to pull out

          – “Towering megacity slums” are quite efficient. –

          as a perfect example of how wrong you are.

    3.  Dipstick, the work is still there to be down, so somebody else bloody does it, either working direct without any stinking asshat douche or working in ‘MAIN STREET’, small business, screw wallstreet.
      You go any idea at all about supply and demand? If the work is there to be done someone will do it once they are paid enough to so, either directly or at one company or another or via a government enterprise.

    4. I think this is hard for poor and middle class people to understand [blah blah blah]

      Yeah, only people who don’t understand disagree with you! If only they were smarter, or more educated, or better informed, they’d see that you were right!

      … arrogant much?

    5. If you tax land and nothing but land the entire problem goes away.

      Not really.  It just moves the goalposts.  For starters, the ultra-rich don’t have to own any land.  They can all have infinite leases on land owned by multinational shell corporations that are designed around a bankruptcy and failure cascade, much like the developers in my area use in order to get out of their post-development contractual obligations to maintain public open space, impoundments, etc.  Oh, Eastern States Builders promised never to develop that field?  They went bankrupt last week after they sold the last house; their principal debtor was Eastern States Construction, who received the property rights to that field in the bankruptcy.  Highway’s coming through!

      You have to tax assets at their monetary value to achieve what you want.  This is extremely difficult to do in practice… but so was the income tax, and we seem to have managed that well enough.

      1. I’m not sure we’ve managed that so well with the income tax, but that’s a whole other conversation.

        The beauty of taxing land is that it really can’t be avoided. It doesn’t matter what kind of legal fictions you create, at the end of the day *some* legal entity is the owner, and from that owner tax can be demanded.  And if the tax isn’t paid, guess what, you’ve got collateral… the land!

    6. When a rich person says “I’m not going to bother making 3 million next year, I’ll only make 2 million” that is a threat they can follow through on.

      But do they ever actually follow through on the threat?  I see no evidence that they do.  If you have some, please provide.

      1. There is a *lot* of cash sitting on the sidelines right now.  People are literally making “investments” in government backed bonds which pay a *negative* interest rate but feature inflation protection.  

        This is people being risk adverse, and when they look at the potential reward — diminished due to income/profits taxes — they’ve decided not to invest.

    7. Whoa this is like something Groucho Marx would say:

      “WellI tried being rich, see, but I didn’t like it. You wouldn’t believe the taxes”

      And anyway, if anything rich people have a stronger incentive to invest than regular folks because inflation continuously eats away at any inactive cash they have lying around. Over 2% per year really adds up if you have 2 billion stuffed in a mattress.

  13. Did Siegel include this picture of him sitting on his tacky (albeit probably expensive) throne in the letter to his employees…just to show them who is ‘king sh*t’?
    Looks like a picture of a dog laying on a couch in the framed picture on the table…seems to be in the same position as the dead body on the piano…bloody weird.
    Matt Grimm said it best (see first comment)…’Christ, what an asshole.’

  14. “look im not TELLING you who to vote for, but if you vote for obama you’re fired”
    looks like we have a new contender in “biggest douche in the universe” competition.

  15. On the other hand, if we seized all David Siegel’s assets and distributed them to low income families, everyone but David Siegel would benefit.

  16. What if these taxes are levied on him, but business is still good? Or increases? With fewer employees he’ll have to turn down the new business. 

    If I was a billionaire, I’d give 100 homeless Floridians new houses and a wage. In exchange, their only job would be to follow this guy around and piss on his leg where ever he goes. I’d pay their bail, provide a legal team and even have a robust bonus system.

  17. oh goodie. been trying to figure out which mutual funds to sell off next in preparation for a daughter entering college. just so happens that i have one with a sizable stake in westgate. well … that was an easy decision, now i just have to make sure i let the fund manager and good old dave know why i’m out.

  18. The last time I checked, jobs are triggered by demand. Tax breaks merely increase owner profit. His argument is simply disingenuous and manipulative.

    1. Jobs are triggered by, you work for me and make me money, if you do not make me money you are fired.
      The are only two reasons why the rich and greedy employee people. Main reason so the rich can take a cut of the value of the labour to further enrich themselves.
      The second to gloat, servile folk, to bow and scrape and serve the douches every whim, to feed his bloated belly and to clean up his shit after ward and play with his tiny winky afterwards (don’t think so, just look at the chair the douche is sitting, a throne to talk down to his subjects.)
      Repeated proof that greed knows no bounds, there is no such thing as being too rich when there are still more people to grind into poverty.

  19. That’s funny, because that’s exactly what happened in a recent episode of Parks and Recreations.
    Bitches like that are why the economy is fucked up. The last thing to do is listen to them, and give out to their threats.

    1. More or less. It’s astonishing that the last recession hit days after it was clear Obama had won.

      Almost like a bunch of petulant racists got together to make trouble.

  20. I just hope that his employees are able to realise that when he says the company would have to make cut-backs, that the only reason this is true is because the CEO doesn’t want to take a minor financial personal hit.  He probably earns 100x more than any other employee on his payroll  I guess he doesn’t want to see than number drop to 99x.

    Acting like it would actually affect his companies bottom line – when he’s a billionaire – is absurd.

  21. The only thing I can really add is that I understand is that Don Siegel’s wife, Jackie, didn’t like the documentary The Queen of Versailles because she felt it didn’t focus enough on her contributions to charity.

    Possibly there wasn’t that much focus on her contributions to charity because she doesn’t give that much to charity, but Jackie also fails to realize that many charities are under great financial strain because of her husband and people like him.

  22. The wealthy seem married to this narrative that they have been victims during this recession even though for many their wealth has grown substantially. 

    We have a friend who is very to the right in his politics. He inherited a good but not fabulous performing family business that he has put a lot of time and effort into building into a thriving business. His business has grown by leaps and bounds since marijuana became legalized in several states (no, he doesn’t deal pot; but a lot of his clients are using his equipment to create drug paraphernalia). 

    He still talks about how he won’t hire any new workers as long as Obama is president, even though he is so rolling in dough that his children’s college educations are completely funded and he and his wife will be able to afford to retire by the time they are 50.

  23. Of all the places to model ones oversized dwelling on…

    Shame is clearly not a word they understand (somewhat surprising tho, given how focused on shame a certain set of cultural doctrines are).

    1. It’s a direct consequence of not valuing education.  Maybe if he’d paid attention in history class, he would know to avoid the reference.

  24. how is it that he has billions of dollars but can’t afford to hire a decorator? Home Depot taste on a Sun King budget.

    1. Oh, he had a decorator. When I was in design school, we called them “Suzy Desecrator”. We’d be learning how to do an electrical plan and they’d be talking about bullion fringe.

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