Source: Westgate Resorts
David Siegal, CEO and Founder of Westgate Resorts.
David Siegel, the CEO who told his employees that President Barack Obama’s win could be their loss, told CNBC that he’s given them raises instead.
Weeks before the election, Siegel sent his employees a memo telling them to consider when voting for Obama or Mitt Romney, “Whose policies will endanger your job?”
“If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current president plans,” Siegel wrote in his memo, “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.”
But today on CNBC’s Closing Bell, Siegel said that he’s keeping his employees, and giving them raises to try to double sales this year.
“It was not a political ploy,” he told CNBC. “I never said I was going to fire anyone if President Obama was re-elected. What I said was that iF his policies caused the company to cease making money, to cease expanding, I’ll most likely have to lay off people down the road. Time will tell.” (Read more: CEO to Workers: You’ll Likely Be Fired If Obama Wins)
Siegel’s company, Westgate Resorts, is the largest time-share company in the world. While Siegel says Westgate is more profitable than ever, it’s sales are down by half and its workforce down by 7,000 people since the start of the financial crisis.
Siegel and his wife, Jackie, have re-started construction on Versailles, their house near Orlando, Florida that’s slated to be among the largest in the country, at more than 90,000 square feet. The story of the Siegels and their house was first told in The High-Beta Rich.
Siegel said that health-care reform and taxes are the biggest threats to his business in the coming years. He gave his employees a raise to help them through the “coming problems they’re going to have with Obamacare and high taxes.” (Read more: Voters Punished Rich Candidates)
He said that with Obama as president, “we’re not expanding, we‘re not growing and we’re not looking for new opportunities.”
In his memo, he said that he could “no longer support a system that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive.” He said that if his motivations are taken away, “you can find me in the Caribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree, retired, and with no employees to worry about.”
Yet today, Siegel told CNBC that “the company will always be there.” After Obama’s win, he said, “we’re going to try to turn lemons into lemonade.”
-By CNBC’s Robert Frank
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