When I reviewed Queen of Versailles last July, one of the things that struck me about it, aside from the unintentional humor (favorite line “I didn’t even know we had a lizard”), was the way the couple at the center of it, the Siegels, actually came off fairly sympathetic. A perfect emblem for the financial crises that ended the big-credit era, David had made his fortune off time-shares and used it to build a 90,000 square foot McMansion near Orlando, a house that, at the time, he couldn’t afford and was trying to sell. Basically, he couldn’t pay off all the credit he’d earned from other people’s free credit. At the time, the Siegels seemed to recognize the error of their ways in a way that made them sympathetic, and more than just your average reality show assholes.
That was before David Siegel spent a year suing the director of the documentary, Lauren Greenfield (and eventually losing), supposedly for hurting the reputation of his business. He also sent a company-wide email threatening to fire anyone who voted for Obama around election time. Supposedly Siegel’s time-share business is back up, and his wife this week appeared on CNBC’s Secret Lives of the Super Rich, where she showed off her back-in-construction house (the largest single-family dwelling in America) and shared, among other things, her dream of a reality show.
CNBC VOICEOVER: It’s fitting that the Siegels live just 14 miles from Disney World, the land where dreams come true. Jackie’s dream is her own reality show.
Because apparently, these people are exactly the A-holes we hoped they weren’t. Can you sue for elevation of character?
The house will supposedly be completed in 2015 in time for David’s 80th birthday, but looks exactly the same as it does when the documentary was shot in 2010. Which doesn’t stop Jackie from showing off her 6,000 square-foot closet and her two unfinished pools as CNBC’s Robert Frank illustrates how big the house is by jogging across it. It’s hard to know who’s worse, the Siegels or the CNBC hosts who treat them like royalty, but in the end, they’re both selling the same thing: the appearance of wealth. Meanwhile, the Siegels bragging about their unfinished house should win some kind of award for perfect metaphor.
Check out the non-embeddable video over at Gawker.