Wednesday, September 12 2012 9:03 AM EDT2012-09-12 13:03:55 GMT
Those who bought into timeshare properties are quickly finding they were not the "investment" many were led to believe. Now hundreds are practically giving their timeshares away to get out from under the fees. More >>
Those who bought into timeshare properties are quickly finding they were not the "investment" many were led to believe. Now hundreds are practically giving their timeshares away to get out from under the fees.More >>
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach oceanfront is lined with high-rise resorts to fit just about any budget and any taste. But there's one that has left a bad taste in the mouths of hundreds of former employees.
They claim the owner, billionaire David Siegel, stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from them and still has that money, despite an earlier settlement to pay it back. Those workers are about to head back to court to take on the man known as the "Timeshare King."
Who is this David Siegel? He's the guy who's building the largest home in America. His massive home, larger than the White House and nicknamed "Versailles" is the subject of the documentary film, "Queen of Versailles."
He's the guy who says he's responsible for getting George W. Bush into the White House, something he confirmed during an interview after the 2000 election, saying, "I sure did. I got George W. elected President. Personally got him elected president."
He's the guy who, in an e-mail to his thousands of employees, said if president Obama is re-elected, they start losing their jobs. He told employees to consider which candidate's economic policies will "endanger your job".
He's also the guy who owns more timeshare resorts than anyone else on the planet, including the Westgate resort on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach.
Now he's the guy who has 300 employees suing him for more than $600,000. These timeshare agents were hired to sell timeshares at Myrtle Beach's Westgate Resort. Those agents sold thousands of them. But perhaps in an effort to keep those employees from leaving, a portion of their commissions were kept by David Siegel and his company, CFI Sales and Marketing. One of those agents told me Siegel owes him $30,000.
Then, in January of 2010, a settlement was reached and Siegel agreed to pay back the money. Or did he?
CFI did pay $50,000 of that settlement, then stopped. The plaintiff's lawyer says Siegel claims he only "allowed" the judge to rule against him, not to re-pay the workers anything.
Imagine the frustration for these workers. Their only choice was to go back to the judge and ask for permission to sue David Siegel again, this time likely for wages and damages far exceeding the original $650,000 owed to them. The judge agreed and the case is set to go to trial in less than a week.
We had planned to be talking to several of the plaintiffs in this case, the timeshare agents for Westgate Resorts, as well as their attorney here in Myrtle Beach, Gene Connell. However, after further consideration, all of them decided to withhold comment until after the trial, fearing that no matter what they said, David Siegel would likely sue them.
And if what Siegel is saying about his company's success these days is true, he certainly has the pockets deep enough to keep the suit in the courts for years.
"We are the most profitable we've been in our 32-year history," Siegel said in a recent CNBC interview.
Siegel did go through a rough spot when the housing market imploded. He stopped construction on his 90,000 square foot Florida mansion, put it on the market, and even placed several Westgate properties up for sale.
Today however, is a different story. Siegel claims the company is now breaking records when it comes to profits. He recently gave hundreds of staff raises, and construction on the $100,000,000 home nicknamed Versailles has resumed.
The second trial involving some 300 timeshare agents who say they were cheated out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid commissions gets underway on February 4.
WMBF News Anchor David Klugh spoke with David Siegel's attorney who says he's not even sure if his client will show up for this trial.
That, of course is not expected to douse the fireworks that will happen here between those timeshare agents and the man who proudly calls himself one of the "one-percenters" - and calls other 99 percenters in this country "just jealous."
Monday, September 15 2014 11:14 PM EDT2014-09-16 03:14:40 GMT
CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - The last 12 months have been especially active for Lorenzo Taliaferro. A year ago he was in the early stages of a senior season at Coastal Carolina that would end with him tying orMore >>
Two weeks in, former Coastal Carolina standout is getting used to a new life in a new league.
Monday, September 15 2014 10:04 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:04:04 GMT
ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WMBF) - A shooting suspect has escaped from the law enforcement center in Robeson County. Hakeem Andrea Johnson , 23, took off on foot Friday night after being questioned by authoritiesMore >>
A shooting suspect has escaped from the law enforcement center in Robeson County.
Hakeem Andrea Johnson , 23, took off on foot Friday night after being questioned by authorities for a crime that happened September 9, according to Major Anthony Thompson.More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 9:57 PM EDT2014-09-16 01:57:55 GMT
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A new store will open its door in the Coastal North Shopping Center of North Myrtle Beach. Versona, a division of Cato Corporation, will open its newest store on Thursday,More >>
Versona, a division of Cato Corporation, will open its newest store on Thursday, September 25, according to a news release issued by the company.More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 9:09 PM EDT2014-09-16 01:09:42 GMT
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Horry County Solicitor's Office has announced the retrial date, regarding the death of a Myrtle Beach police officer. The retrial of Luzenski Allen Cottrell, in the deathMore >>
Jurors are expected to be selected on Wednesday for the retrial of the man convicted of shooting a Myrtle Beach police officer to death.More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 7:46 PM EDT2014-09-15 23:46:40 GMT
DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - Two men wanted in connection with a murder were arrested in Darlington on Monday. Quentin Joshua Gibson, 23, and Antonio McCoy Gregg, 24, were captured by the Darlington City PoliceMore >>
Two men wanted in connection with a murder were arrested in Darlington on Monday.More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 7:34 PM EDT2014-09-15 23:34:32 GMT
Horry County, SC (WMBF) - Chris Davis has big ideas for this even bigger piece of land. Ever since Horry County announced earlier this year it was considering a gun range off International drive, theMore >>
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Monday, September 15 2014 7:22 PM EDT2014-09-15 23:22:05 GMT
ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A man wanted in connection to drug possession has surrendered to authorities. Jamie Lamont Riggins, 32, of Longs turned himself in on September 9, according to Atlantic BeachMore >>
A man wanted in connection to drug possession has surrendered to authorities.More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 7:02 PM EDT2014-09-15 23:02:38 GMT
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Everyone should be able to get on the beach, but not everyone has access, especially those who are physically disabled. Improving our beaches has always been a focus inMore >>
Everyone should be able to get on the beach, but not everyone has access, especially those who are physically disabled. Improving our beaches has always been a focus in Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach. Now, grant money from the Department of Health and Environmental Control is allowing beach access to become more of a priority.More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 6:20 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:20:13 GMT
GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A vote up for discussion tomorrow night could have local schools outsourcing substitute teachers. Local economists are seeing this trend continue as more industries transitionMore >>
A vote up for discussion Tuesday night could have local schools outsourcing substitute teachers in Georgetown County. Local economists are seeing the trend continue as more industries transition to temp agencies.More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 6:00 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:00:43 GMT
More than 1 million Kidde smoke detectors have been recalled by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.The following models have been recalled:Model i12010SModel i12010SCOModel i12010SCO TheMore >>
More than 1 million Kidde smoke detectors have been recalled by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.More >>