By Debbie Emery – Radar Reporter
The owners of America’s biggest and gaudiest mansion, the gold-encrusted Palace Of Versailles, are not pleased with the way both they and their 30-bedroom Florida home has been portrayed in an upcoming documentary, and they’ve accused the filmmakers of likening them to trashy reality TV stars.
In an official letter obtained by RadarOnline.com to director Lauren Greenfield’s attorney, David Siegel claims that the documentary-maker “didn’t hesitate to orchestrate unrealistic over-the-top scenes for entertainment purposes even when they vastly distorted day-to-day life. That’s why what you call a documentary, I call a Real Housewives Of Orlando pilot.”
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, while Siegel and his former beauty pageant wife, Jackie, are far from royalty, they believe their mammoth mansion in Windermere, Florida, is fit for a queen and are spending a fortune in construction so that it will one day be the biggest house in the U.S. Their aspirations of glitz, grandeur and owning record-breaking real estate have launched the couple’s on-screen career and they are now stars of a documentary, The Queen of Versailles, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and captured the construction project as the recession hit.
But with the “rags-to-riches” story set for limited release on Friday, July 20, the ‘American Versailles’ are far from happy with the finished results of the film.
“My complaint is not about our being Kardashian-nized through Lauren’s voyeuristic lens,” the real estate tycoon went on to write in the letter to lawyer Martin Garbus. “It isn’t even about a feature-length Reality TV show that portrays my family in scenes that, but for the cameras, would never have taken place. It’s about being fair and accurate to the Company I built — Westgate Resorts — and the more than 5,000 dedicated employees who work for us.”
Siegel referred to a New York Times article on June 21 in which Lauren told the paper he wanted “a different film from the one she made,” but vehemently denied her allegation.
“I have never asked that a single frame be cut. That goes for Jackie being shown at McDonald’s in a limousine, a scene suggested and orchestrated by Lauren. Or the interviews of me sitting in a “throne,” another Lauren request. Or the footage of Jackie wearing a fur coat while riding in a speed boat, which she never does,” said the 77-year-old who is married to a blonde 31 years his junior.
Ultimately, the home owner explained that all he was asking for was 26 words added to the postscript of the film to clear up any misimpressions that the audience may have about the economic state of his company.
“Simply put, Westgate is financially healthy — the most profitable it has been in its 32 year history. It’s simply a fair and accurate update and, in fact, mirrors what Lauren has been telling film festival audiences,” stated David.
In the movie, the house is portrayed as an opulent money pit with only two-thirds of the building work completed, and an estimated $30 million of work to do, but Siegel expressed that “Versailles does not face foreclosure because it was refinanced, and construction is starting again.
“We aren’t talking about sacred scripture here that can’t be altered. It’s a movie. It’s entertainment,” he quipped about the request changes. “It’s easy in this digital age.”