Westgate Resorts founder David Siegel, the man who is building the largest house in America, has warned his employees that President Obama’s reelection would endanger their jobs.
“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,” Siegel wrote in an e-mail to his roughly 7,000 workers on Monday. “Rather than grow this company, I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.”
“So, when you make your decision to vote, ask yourself, which candidate understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn’t?” Siegel continued. “Whose policies will endanger your job?”
Siegel’s e-mail was obtained and posted by the website Gawker on Tuesday and has been widely circulated since.
Siegel and his wife, Jackie, are the subjects of a documentary called “The Queen of Versailles” about the building of a 90,000-square-foot home. Construction of the house was stalled by the recession but has resumed.
In the e-mail, Siegel chronicled the personal sacrifices required to build his company into one of the world’s largest resort developers. He said he feels that he and his fellow millionaires are unfairly characterized by the government and the press as spoiled fat cats when, in fact, many have worked hard to achieve their success.
“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,” Siegel wrote. “The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed 42 years of my life for.”
Siegel prefaced his message by writing, “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.”
But the e-mail is not Siegel’s first attempt to influence his employees’ voting habits. He told Bloomberg Businessweek earlier this year that in 2000, he included negative articles about Democratic nominee Al Gore in his workers’ paychecks.
“I had my managers do a survey on every employee,” Siegel added. “If they liked [George W.] Bush, we made them register to vote. But not if they liked Gore.”Callum Borchers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.