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Thursday
Oct112012

CEO Says He May Lay Off Employees if Obama Re-elected

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Outspoken time-share mogul David Siegel surprised his thousands of employees in an email this week that indirectly stated that layoffs could be likely if President Obama is re-elected, which some analysts say have crossed the line as a CEO.

Siegel founded Westgate Resorts in Orlando in 1982.  In an recent email to employees, he said he did not want to tell them how to vote, but wrote:

"You see, I can no longer support a system that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive.  My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities.  If that happens, you can find me in the Caribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree, retired, and with no employees to worry about."

Siegel closed the email with: "Signed, your boss."

The Orlando Sentinel received an anonymous email about Siegel's message by someone who said, "I feel like my boss is threatening me."

Siegel confirmed with the newspaper that that he wrote the email, saying he felt "an obligation to keep them informed."

Siegel did not respond to ABC News' multiple requests for comment.

"Four years ago when Obama got elected we were doing a billion dollars a year in sales with 12,000 employees," he told the Orlando Sentinel.  "As a result of the last four years, we are down to 7,000… We're still a viable company, but if they start taking money out of my pocket with higher taxes and ObamaCare, there's going to be less money to build resorts."

Stephen Bronars, chief economist with Welch Consulting, said it is unlikely the letter violated any labor law, but as a CEO who is responsible to stakeholders and employees, "people would view it as unwise."

"One of the toughest tasks for the owner of a company is to deliver a message that things aren't going well and that there will be cutbacks," Bronars said.  "If you panic your employees you are most likely to lose the ones with the best outside options -- exactly the ones you would hate to lose."

Though it is a private company, firms with 100 or more employees must tell employees at least 60 days in advance of a mass layoff or plant closing.

"But not like this," Bronars said.

Bronars added that his "only caveat" is that Siegel may know his employees "better than critics on the outside looking in."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio