Florida billionaire David Siegel has been catching flak over a leaked email he reportedly sent to 7,000 employees warning them not to vote for Obama. The CEO of Westgate Resorts told his workers that Obama’s policies have already harmed the time-share company and that they would be well-advised to vote against the president in the upcoming election if they want to stay employed. Here are a few paragraphs from the email, as posted on Gawker: 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. … 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. 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.
Gawker says it has spoken with Siegel and confirmed the email’s authenticity.Siegel has defended the letter, saying that another term for Obama posed a major risk to his company and that he was not trying to threaten his employees. In an interview with CNBC, when asked if he regrets sending the email now that it has gone public, he responded: No, I wanted to inform my employees of what their future would hold if they make the wrong the decision when they vote.This is apparently not the first time Siegel has tried to influence a presidential election: Earlier this year he reportedly claimed that he was “personally responsible” for George W. Bush’s 2000 win through means that may “not necessarily have been legal.” He also caught media attention this summer after attempting to build a 90,000 square-foot home near Orlando, which would have been the largest in the U.S. had the recession not put construction on hold (the documentary The Queen of Versailles follows Siegel and his wife’s “rags-to-riches” quest to build the mansion). Siegel’s email cites the stalled construction as one of the sacrifices he has had to make due to Obama’s policies: 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.
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