Before he even saw The Queen of Versailles, time-share magnate David Siegel filed a lawsuit against director Lauren Greenfield and the Sundance Institute. The documentary, which chronicles Siegel’s crumbling empire, premiered at the Sundance festival in January, and the mogul objected to press materials that read: The Siegels’ ”entire time-share empire collapses and their houses are foreclosed,” claims he alleges are false.
Siegel has since dropped charges against Sundance but has added new targets: distributor Magnolia Pictures and Bravo Media, which bought TV rights to the film. In a suit filed last month, Siegel alleges that the doc is ”defamatory, derogatory, and damaging” in its depiction of his company, Westgate Resorts. ”I’m disappointed in the film because it’s just not a fair or accurate portrayal of the company,” Siegel tells EW in a statement. ”I can handle people criticizing me or my family. What I don’t like is someone manipulating reality to make it seem as if our company is unhealthy or doesn’t do business the right way…. Westgate today is more profitable than at any time in our 30-year history.”
Greenfield’s lawyer, Martin Garbus, has one word for Siegel’s odds of winning the case: ”zero,” since Siegel signed a comprehensive release prior to filming. ”I think he just wants to punish [the director],” says Garbus. ”I think that’s how rich men act.”