Billionaire who threatened to lay off employees if Obama re-elected gives employees a raise instead

Matt Coutts
Daily Brew

A U.S. billionaire who threatened to lay off everyone at his company if Barack Obama was re-elected now says he probably won't do that, and has even given everyone raises.

David Siegel, the owner of Orlando-based Westgate Resorts, had warned the 7,000 employees of his time-share company in a memo that he simply wouldn't have the motivation to keep his company afloat for four more years under an Obama administration.

Siegel's memo claimed that Obama's tax plan would unfairly punish him as a wealthy businessman. He didn't exactly demand his employees support Mitt Romney, but did make it very clear that it was in their best interest as his employees.

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Siegel may also be recognized as the protagonist (foil?) in the "Queen of Versailles," a documentary that followed his efforts to build the country's largest mansion for his wife. Construction on the 90,000-square-foot behemoth outside Orlando was eventually abandoned, which he also managed to blame on Obama.

From his original memo, via Reuters:

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.

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.

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.

It was a terrifying moment for Middle America. People broke down in tears and rent their garments and wondered what would happen to the nation if that 90,000-square-foot mansion went unfinished for another four years.

It was apparently not enough to convince voters and (you may have heard) Obama did indeed win a second term in office.

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This week, Siegel told Bloomberg Businessweek that his plans to destroy his own company in a fit of pouty rage have been put on hold and he would continue to slough through under a Democratic White House.

Via Businessweek:

I'm going to work my hardest to keep the company going and expand the best I can. We'll see what happens. Meanwhile I gave everybody in the company a raise this week—the average was 5 percent. I wanted to help them handle the additional burdens the government will put on them.

It is nice to see "about-face" survived the contentious election season.