David A. Siegel

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David A. Siegel
David A. Siegel 207-DP-8712-DS1503 (cropped).jpg
Siegel in 2003
Born (1935-05-03) May 3, 1935 (age 87)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Miami (dropped out)
OccupationBusinessman
OrganizationWestgate Resorts
Political partyRepublican
Spouses
Geraldine Florence Sanstrom
(m. 1961; div. 1968)
Bettie Irene Tucker
(m. 1970; div. 1997)
(m. 2000)
[1]
Children12
Parents
  • Sidney Siegel (father)
  • Sadelle Siegel (mother)
RelativesBarry Siegel (brother)

David Alan Siegel (born May 3, 1935)[2] is an American businessman who founded Westgate Resorts Ltd, a Florida-based timeshare resort firm where he serves as president and chief executive officer. He has ten biological children and two adopted children. Siegel is CEO of CFI Resorts Management Inc. and Central Florida Investments Inc. His other businesses include real estate, construction, hotel and apartment management, travel services, insurance, transportation, and retail.[citation needed]

Siegel, his wife Jackie, and their Versailles house, a 85,000-square-foot (7,900 m2) residential construction project in Florida, were the subject of the 2012 documentary film The Queen of Versailles.[3]

Siegel was the owner of the Orlando Predators, an arena football team. He also bought the Cocoa Beach Pier and the Las Vegas Hotel.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Siegel was born to a wealthy Jewish family[5][6] in Chicago, to Sadelle and Sid Siegel, a grocer, who moved the family and grocery business to Miami in 1945.[5][7] Siegel grew up in Florida where he graduated from Miami Senior High School in 1953, and later studied marketing and management at the University of Miami, before dropping out.

In March 1961, Siegel married Geraldine Florence Sanstrom.[8] The couple had three children: Steven, Valerie, and Richard.[citation needed] Their marriage ended in 1968. In 1970, Siegel married Betty Tucker, with whom he had a daughter, Susan,[citation needed] and moved from Miami to Orlando.[9] They divorced in 1997, and he remained the custodial parent of all the children. He met his current wife Jackie Siegel in 1998.[9] And although she is not Jewish, they were married in a Jewish ceremony.[5][6][10] Together, they have eight children, including Jackie's adopted niece, Jonquil.[11] Their other children are: Victoria, David, Daniel, Debbie, Drew, and twins, Jacqueline and Jordan.[11]

Siegel's businesses, family, and personal life were adversely affected by the 2008 financial crisis, as seen in the documentary The Queen of Versailles.[12]

On June 6, 2015, the Siegels' 18-year-old daughter Victoria Siegel was found unresponsive at their home in Windermere and, after being taken to hospital, was pronounced dead. The cause of death was later determined to be a drug overdose, which motivated him to advocate against drug abuse.[13][14]

Politics[edit]

Siegel campaigned for George W. Bush in 2000.[15]

In a February 2012 interview with Susan Berfield, Siegel elaborated:

"Whenever I saw a negative article about Gore, I put it in with the paychecks of my 8,000 employees. I had my managers do a survey on every employee. If they liked Bush, we made them register to vote. But not if they liked Gore. The week before [the election] we made 80,000 phone calls through my call center—they were robo-calls. On Election Day, we made sure everyone who was voting for Bush got to the polls. I didn't know he would win by 527 votes. Afterward, we did a survey among the employees to find out who voted who wouldn't have otherwise. One thousand of them said so."[16]

During the 2012 United States elections, Siegel caused controversy and public debate when he sent a mass email to his employees, suggesting that they vote for Republican Party candidate Mitt Romney or he might have to take drastic measures in how he operated the company (including cutting back on his company's workforce).[17][18] In January 2015, it was noted that his company had experienced "the best year in our history" and he raised his company's minimum wage to $10 per hour.[19]

Sexual harassment lawsuit by Dawn Myers[edit]

In 2008, Siegel was found liable in a sexual-harassment lawsuit brought by former Westgate employee Dawn Myers. After a trial in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the jury awarded $5.4 million, but the judge reduced the award to $610,000.[20] In the trial award, Myers recovered $103,622.09 in compensatory damages and $506,847.75 in punitive damages arising from her claim of battery under state law, but her claims of sexual harassment were found to be time-barred.[21] The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit dismissed an appeal and cross-appeal, affirming the district court's judgment.[21]

The Queen of Versailles[edit]

The Queen of Versailles is a 2012 American documentary film by Lauren Greenfield. The film shows Jackie Siegel and David Siegel, owners of Westgate Resorts, and their family as they attempt to build the Versailles house, the largest and most expensive single-family house in the United States, and the crisis they face as the U.S. economy declines.

The film also shows Siegel trying and failing to retain ownership of Westgate's Las Vegas high-rise resort, the PH Towers Westgate. Siegel's son and senior Westgate executive, Richard, is quoted as saying that David Siegel's determination not to lose the Ph Tower was a major source of the company's financial troubles in 2009–11. On November 22, 2011, a controlling interest in the property was sold to Resort Finance America LLC.[22]

On January 10, 2012, David Siegel and Westgate Resorts, Ltd filed a lawsuit in Florida against the Sundance Institute and the filmmakers of The Queen of Versailles, claiming that Sundance's published film description was defamatory. On January 23, 2013, the United States District Court Judge Conway of the Middle District of Florida ordered a stay of the lawsuit pending arbitration. In her order, Judge Conway called the testimony previously offered by Siegel during court hearings "inconsistent and incredible and thus lacking weight".[23][24][25]

The matter was subsequently heard before an arbitrator for the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) in June 2013. On March 13, 2014, the arbitrator awarded in favor of the filmmakers, Lauren Greenfield and Frank Evers, including an order that David Siegel and Westgate Resorts pay $750,000 to the filmmakers.[26][27]

The arbitrator wrote in the award, "Having viewed the supposedly egregious portions of the Motion Picture numerous times, [the Arbitrator] simply does not find that any of the content of the Motion Picture was false." The arbitrator also wrote that Westgate had failed to show how the documentary damaged it. Finally, the arbitrator noted that Westgate "did not remotely establish the type of malice required for a defamation claim on behalf of a public figure."[28]

A second lawsuit filed by David Siegel (and Jackie Siegel) in February 2013 against the filmmakers of The Queen of Versailles was subsequently heard by Greg Derin of the American Arbitration Association in Los Angeles. On February 28, 2014, Derin ruled that the filmmakers' agreement with the family, pertaining to certain life rights, was "invalid and unenforceable". The Siegels' attempt to sue for $5 million in damages was also dismissed by Derin.[29]

Mystery Fun House[edit]

Siegel was one of the founders of Mystery Fun House, an attraction in Orlando, Florida, that opened on March 28, 1976, and operated until 2001. It was located near International Drive, on Major Boulevard, across from Universal Orlando Resort. Over time, the fun house expanded to include a laser-tag facility, an arcade, a dinosaur-themed mini golf course, and other attractions. He also produced the movie Night Terror within the MFH in 2002.[30] It starred local talent but also included Jeff Speakman and Al Lewis (The Munsters).

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Self Producer Actor Notes
2000 Held for Ransom No No Yes
  • Crime scene detective
2002 Night Terror No Yes Yes
  • Policeman
2011 My Trip to the Dark Side No No No
  • Special thanks
2012 The Queen of Versailles Yes No No
2015 Celebrity Wife Swap Yes No No
2015 Bob Massi Is the Property Man Yes No No
  • 2 episodes
2016 Beneath the Crown Yes No No
  • Interviewee
2017 Flipping Out Yes No No
  • Potential client
2021 Below Deck Yes No No
  • 2 episodes

References[edit]

  1. ^ "All Florida Marriage Collection". Ancestry.com. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  2. ^ "David A. Siegel". Orlando Sentinel. April 20, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  3. ^ "queenofversailles.com". www.queenofversailles.com. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  4. ^ "Westgate Las Vegas owner David Siegel: 'I like the odds here — we know what we can do out here' - Las Vegas Sun Newspaper". Archived from the original on August 27, 2018. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Sadelle Siegel worked into her 90s, was 'woman with golden arm' in Vegas". Orlando Sentinel. June 8, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Jewish Week: "Intermarried In 'Versailles'" July 7, 2007
  7. ^ "Is David Siegel The Magic's Man". Orlando Sentinel. February 3, 2002. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  8. ^ "All Florida Marriage Collection". Ancestry.com. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Berfield, Susan. "Inside what would be the biggest house in America – MSN Real Estate". Realestate.msn.com. Archived from the original on April 11, 2013. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  10. ^ "Timeshare Baron Weds Former Beauty Queen". Orlando Sentinel. January 3, 2000. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  11. ^ a b Waring, Jana (March 12, 2009). "Queen of Versailles". Playground News Magazine. Archived from the original on July 3, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  12. ^ Liston, Barbara (July 30, 2012). "Time-share king restarts work on Florida Versailles as business booms". Reuters.
  13. ^ "Queen of Versailles Stars Jackie & David Siegel Speak Out After Daughter's Fatal Overdose: 'Victoria Didn't Die in Vain'". People. July 30, 2015. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  14. ^ Brinkmann, Paul. "David Siegel backs off day-to-day operations of Westgate", Orlando Sentinel, October 7, 2015. Accessed April 28, 2016.
  15. ^ Goldberg, Adam (July 31, 2012). "David Siegel, Florida Real Estate Mogul, Claims To Be 'Personally Responsible' For George W. Bush's 2000 Victory". HuffPost. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  16. ^ Berfield, Susan. "Why Time-Share King David Siegel Thinks He Got Bush Elected". Business Weed. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  17. ^ Berfield, Susan (October 10, 2012). "Why David Siegel Told His Employees to Vote for Romney". Business Week.
  18. ^ Gawker "The CEO Who Built Himself America's Largest House Just Threatened to Fire His Employees if Obama's Elected" Archived October 11, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "David Siegel ups minimum pay to $10 an hour". Orlando Sentinel. January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  20. ^ "Mr. Big". Orlando Magazine. June 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  21. ^ a b "Dawn Georgette Myers v. Central Florida Investments, Inc., David Siegel, et al" (PDF). United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. January 6, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 12, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  22. ^ Ph Towers has new owner
  23. ^ Eriq Gardner (January 25, 2013). "'Queen of Versailles' Filmmaker Wins Key Ruling in Defamation Fight". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  24. ^ "Westgate Resorts, Ltd. v. Lauren Greenfield, Frank Evers and Greenfield/Evers LLC" (PDF). January 24, 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 26, 2013. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  25. ^ Deshayla Strachan (January 29, 2013). "'Queen of Versailles' Spat Heads to Arbitration". Entertainment Law Digest. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  26. ^ Eriq Gardner (March 13, 2014). "'Queen of Versailles' Filmmaker Beats Westgate's Defamation Claim (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter.
  27. ^ Adam Benzine (March 17, 2014). "IFTA backs filmmakers over "Queens of Versailles" complaint". Hollywood Reporter.
  28. ^ "IFTA Award by Roy Rifkin in matter of Westgate Resort Ltd versus Frank Evers, Lauren Greenfield, and Greenfield/Evers LLC".
  29. ^ "Exclusive: "Queen of Versailles" subjects ink NBC studio deal". Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  30. ^ Monte, Ric La (October 1, 2002), Night Terror (Horror), Jeff Speakman, Dan Baccelliere, Jaqueline Siegel, Al Lewis, Rock Jar Productions Inc., retrieved September 30, 2020

External links[edit]