David and Jackie Siegel gained Worldwide fame in the 2012 documentary ‘The Queen of Versailles’. The film offered viewers a glance into their incredible wealth, their plans for their new enormous home, and also showed the stresses and strains created by a crumbling multi-billion dollar business empire as the 2008 financial crisis took its toll. The documentary left viewers hanging, as the tumultuous roller-coaster ride that the Siegel’s were experiencing was never fully resolved by the end of the documentary. At one stage David Siegel was worth billions, yet in ‘The Queen of Versailles’ he was facing possible ruin and bankruptcy when the documentary ended, so how much is the King of Timeshares worth now in 2017? Read on to find out.
David and Jackie Siegel Net Worth 2017 – $940 Million
How Did David and Jackie Siegel Make Their Money & Wealth?
David Siegel came from an everyday working class Jewish family, His father Sid was a small business owner who ran a grocery in Chicago when David was born in May 1935. In 1945 the Siegel family moved to Miami where David grew up. He attended Miami Senior High School and later went to the University of Miami where he studied Management and Marketing, but surprisingly David dropped out before getting his degree.
David Siegel’s Early Business Ventures
David married for the first time in 1961. He and his first wife Geraldine had three children together but divorced in 1968. He married a second time in 1970 and moved to Orlando with new wife Betty. David, a natural entrepreneur, became involved in various business ventures and in 1970 he launched Central Florida Investments, Inc. (CFI), a real estate development business with his main office situated in his garage at home.
David invested heavily in real estate during the 1970’s, by the end of the decade he had become a millionaire and diversified his interests, he owned residential property, commercial offices and orange groves. In 1980 he was approached by a business contact who proposed forming a partnership to open a timeshare resort, using land that David owned.
David Siegel liked the idea, but didn’t see the need to go into partnership with anyone else. In 1982 he founded Westgate Resorts as a subsidiary of CFI and shortly after opened his first timeshare resort, the 16 unit Westgate Vacation Villas. The 1990’s were the golden age for timeshare businesses and David Siegel rode the crest of the wave of profitability that such companies enjoyed. Westgate Lakes resort & Spa opened in 1996 with Westgate Towers coming into operation the following year. 1999 saw two more Westgate resorts opening, Westgate Town Center and Westgate Smoky mountain Resort & spa, and the growth of Westgate’s assets only increased after that.
Jackie Siegel was born on January 19th 1966 in Binghamton, New York. Fiercely intelligent she graduated in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in computer engineering, but Jackie was doubly blessed, not only was she smart, but she was also beautiful. In 1993 Jackie won the Mrs Florida Beauty pageant and for the next three years she forged a career with the organization, eventually producing the pageant until 1997. That same year David and his second wife Betty divorced, and the following year he met Jackie. It would be fair to say that David Siegel is an avid admirer of beautiful women, and Jackie’s combination of stunning looks with a razor-sharp brain soon saw them embark on a relationship. In 2000 they married in a Jewish ceremony, even though Jackie herself wasn’t actually Jewish.
Another six Westgate resorts opened in the next five years and the company’s portfolio expanded far beyond Florida. Now in 2017 Westgate has twenty eight resorts in eleven states, including the three largest timeshare resorts in the World. David Siegel had become the richest man in Florida with a personal fortune of at least $5 Billion in the early years of the millennium, and he had rightfully earned the title ‘The King of Timeshares’, but the good fortune he had enjoyed during his amazingly successful career came to an abrupt end with the advent of the 2008 financial crisis.
David and Jackie Siegel in ‘The Queen of Versailles’
The Queen of Versailles was a documentary, released in 2012, that gave ordinary people a rare chance to see the life of the super-rich. The focus of the film was the Siegel’s new home, a custom built mansion inspired by and resembling the Palace of Versailles in France, built by King Louis the fourteenth from 1661 to 1678. During the early years of David and Jackie’s marriage they had five children together, bringing David’s total number of children to 13, and their luxurious mansion in private grounds in Florida, near Orlando was soon too small for the ever growing Siegel clan.
In 2004 construction began on the mansion, which would when finished be the largest single-family home in the United States boasting over 90,000 square feet of space, and a list of incredible facilities that we’ll come to later. The 2008 financial crisis threw a major spanner in the works, quite literally when it came to the building of the Siegel’s new home and in 2009 construction was cancelled as David Siegel faced a huge 80% drop in his personal wealth, and the potential to lose everything. ‘The Queen of Versailles’ caught the family as they were forced to economize for the first time, they let most of their servants go and Jackie told their kids that they might have to think about forming their own careers if things got any worse.
Other legal problems occurred during those difficult few years on top of the financial stresses David was already experiencing. In 2008 David was found to be liable in a sexual-harassment lawsuit against a former employee, he was ordered to pay over $5 million in damages. David was forced to down-scale his business operations to survive and laid off hundreds of employees, but in 2010 he was sued in a class-action case by 300 ex-sales agents for unpaid commissions. David Siegel lost the case and was ordered to pay half-a-million in compensation by the courts.
With the release of ‘The Queen of Versailles’ the Siegel’s filed a lawsuit against the film-makers of the documentary, claiming that the description of the film was defamatory. The courts ruled that David Siegel’s claims were ‘Inconsistent, incredible and lacking weight’, and decided that the lawsuit should be turned over to arbitaration by the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA). In June 2013 the IFTA ruled against the Siegel’s, and they were ordered to pay $750,000 in legal costs to the makers of the documentary, Frank Evers and Lauren Greenfield. David also brought a second lawsuit against the film-makers, but once again the case was dismissed, in 2014.
David and Jackie Siegel’s Recovery from Financial Problems
Now in 2017, the financial stability of the Siegel family is once again restored, and even though David Siegel lost billions as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, he is set to become a billionaire once again within a matter of months. At one stage he was forced to put the Versailles House on the market for $65 Million, but by 2013 his business empire was back on stable ground and he still owns the house outright. Construction resumed that year and the house is expected to be fully completed and furnished sometime in 2018. With a probable appraisal of it’s value at over $110 million, the home will be the fourth most valuable property in the whole of America.
Westgate Resorts has continued to expand at a rapid rate, in 2014 construction began on Westgate Lakes Retail Village, an ambitious $11 million development in Orlando, and in February 2016 Westgate bought the Wild Bear Inn in Tennessee, the closest hotel to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. That latest property was extensively damaged in a fire later in 2016, but with a profit line securly back in the black, rebuilding began almost immediately and the property is now back to it’s former glory. David Siegel’s business accomplishments have received some personal recognition too, in 2014 he won the CEO of the Year award from the Orlando Business Association
David and Jackie Siegel Personal Life & FAQ’s
When did David and Jackie Siegel get married?
David and Jackie married in January 2000 in a lavish ceremony attended by 450 guests. Of course, with such a large amount of luxurious venues at his disposal, David didn’t have to splash out any extra cash on a venue. The pair were married at the Westgate Lakes Resort in Orlando, and Jackie proudly showed off her wedding ring, which the Orlando Sentinel described as ‘A rock big enough for the pilgrims to land on’. The couple honeymooned at another Westgate resort, the Papillion Spa before moving on to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. Jackie already had an adopted daughter Jonquil, and a daughter from a previous relationship, Victoria, born in 1996. David adopted both of Jackie’s daughters and the couple went on to have six children of their own. Tragedy struck in 2015 when Victoria was found comatose at the family home in Windermere and was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital. Victoria, who was just 18 when she died was later found to have died from a drug overdose, which has led to her parents advocating publicly against substance abuse.
What Were David and Jackie Siegel’s Annual Earnings in 2017?
Westgate Resorts is now profitable once again, and highly likely to earn hundreds of millions in profits annually as long as no other major hiccups occur. David Siegel’s immense wealth allowed him to weather the storm that the 2008 financial crisis brought, but for a while at least it seemed that his massive business empire could well come crashing down leaving him with nothing. David is involved in a multitude of other business ventures, more than could be listed, but perhaps most notably, he founded the ‘Mystery Fun House’ in Orlando, Florida in 1976. It eventually expanded to include arcades, a mini golf course – with a dinosaur theme, and other facilities, including a laser-tag attraction. The Mystery Fun House was operated until 2001, and the following year David funded and produced the movie ‘Night Terror’, starring Al Lewis of Munsters fame, as well as wife Jackie.
What Facilities Does the Versailles House Have?
When the Siegel tribe finally make their long-awaited move into the Siegel House they will enjoy the incredible luxury of fourteen bedrooms, thirty two bathrooms, and even eleven kitchens. The mansion, which sits on an artificially constructed hilltop in 10 acres of landscaped lakefront grounds, will also include three indoor heated pools with another two outside, a ballroom with capacity for 1,000 people, a two-story theater, and a video arcade. Just in case the family want some exercise after all that luxury, the property also includes two tennis courts, an indoor roller rink,a baseball diamond, a yoga studio and a fitness center with a spa larger than some homes, at over 10,000 square feet.
The Exterior walls of the Versailles house have been veneered with Pavonazzo marble, at a cost of over $7 million and the doors and windows of the main building have been made using some of the last Brazilian mahogany in the World at incredible cost. The main entryway features a 30 foot stained-glass dome and even the ten staff will be able to enjoy their own personal jacuzzis and kitchens in their private quarters. Incredibly flamboyant and undoubtedly expensive it may be, but some people are less than impressed with the Versailles House and it’s appearance. The lifestyle news site Mother Nature Network called it a ‘Wretched Excess’ and other critics have labelled it ‘Absurd’, ‘Excessive’ and ‘Gaudy’. The news site ThinkProgrss were perhaps most effusive in their criticism, they called it ‘A testament to waste’ and ‘A monument to bad taste’.
David and Jackie Siegel’s Charity Work, Donations and Philanthropy
David and Jackie Siegel have contributed and advocated for many good causes and charitable institutions. They have been outspoken on the subject of substance abuse since the death of daughter Victoria in 2015 and founded a foundation in Victoria’s name after her death. The Siegel’s also founded the Westgate Resorts Foundation which annually awards grants to a wide range of non profit organizations that help veterans, the homeless, children in need and domestic violence survivors, as well as a range of other needy causes. In 2016 the Westgate Resorts Foundation awarded well over $1 million to over 70 charitable organizations. Jackie continues to help promote the Mrs Florida pageant, as well as working in her role as the co-owner of Travelhost Orlando magazine. She has added to her acting credits with parts in ‘Terminator 3’ and ‘The Caretaker’ and also supports the Special Olympics Florida, the Orlando Ballet and The Mennello Museum of American Art.