David Siegel, the owner of Westgate Resorts and one of the subjects of Lauren Greenfield’s acclaimed documentary, The Queen Of Versailles, just got a little more ruined.
Last January, the billionaire sued both Greenfield and the organization that runs the Sundance Film Festival for defamation, after coming to the conclusion that the movie detailing his disastrous fall from immense wealth hurt the reputation of his company. Today The Hollywood Reporter reports that a U.S. District Court judge has deemed Siegel’s claim baseless.
Siegel was banking on the fact that the release signed by his son, Richard Siegel—the one that allowed Greenfield to film Westgate’s marketing operations—wasn’t actually valid, since Westgate Marketing is legally distinct from Westgate Resorts. Judge Anne Conway called this argument “bizarre,” which definitely sounds pretty bad when it's coming from a judge. Greenfield’s attorney said that, while the case could continue into arbitration, the fact that the release was deemed valid means there wouldn’t be much point.
It’s unclear how Siegel thought he would be portrayed in the film—he presumably had some kind of "free market superhero" in mind—but for any future billionaire who plans to let a documentarian film the karmic result of his rapacious greed, let this be a lesson: Don’t be so surprised when the final product doesn’t make you look so good.