Forward Thinking

McMansion Dude Backs Down on Vote Threat

By Seth Berkman

  • Print
  • Share Share
lauren greenfield

After President Barack Obama won reelection, controversial Florida time-share mogul David Siegel backed down from threats to fire workers who backed the president.

Siegel, who famously built the biggest private home in America, told thousands of workers their jobs were safe and even gave them an average raise of 5 percent, according to the International Business Times.

That was a big climbdown for the Jewish owner of Westgate Resorts, who blasted Obama as a job-killing disaster for the nation.

In an email to 7,000 employees, Siegel wrote in October: “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.”

This week, Siegel was backtracking. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Siegel sent out another email on Wednesday. “I never said such a thing,” Siegel wrote. “What I did say was that if the current administration continues to increase the cost of doing business, we would cut back on the size and growth of the company. This is a simple fact of doing business.”

Siegel was not the only business owner to threaten job cutbacks if President Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney. David and Charles Koch emailed workers last month, warning them of consequences like higher gas prices, if they voted for the wrong candidate.

The owners of Wynn Resorts sent a “voter election guide,” to its 12,000 employees in Nevada. Steve Wynn told the Huffington Post, “It would be a complete disaster if Obama wins, which is why I’m urging my employees to vote for Romney.”

Deborah Weinstein, a Philadelphia lawyer, told the Wall Street Journal that employers should use caution in encouraging employees to vote for certain candidates.

“The law in that area is not cut and dry,” she said. “That means that employers should be cautious if they attempt to use scare tactics to spur employees to vote their way.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: westgate, mcmansion, jewish, david siegel, barack obama

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.