To every city comes its 15 minutes (or more) of fame. We here in Binghamton, New York may be about to get ours.
Someone I know was sent a DVD by her daughter. It was a DVD of a documentary movie called "The Queen of Versailles". It co-starred a woman by the name of Jackie Siegel. Married to a timeshare billionaire, David Siegel, this documentary started out with the purpose of filming the building of what was intended to be the largest house in the United States - their house - in Florida. It was to have been modeled after the Palace at Versailles.
Quoting from the Internet Movie Database:
than going the been-there-done-that route of a rags to riches story,
director Lauren Greenfield accidentally (yet exquisitely) delivers a
riches to rags tale with the intimate glimpse into the wealthy lives of
David and Jackie Siegel. As the president and CEO of the largest
timeshare corporation in the country, David is the epitome of the
American dream...While the film's initial purpose was to document the development of
their 90,000 sq. ft. home (the third largest in the United States), once the financial
crisis of 2008 impacted banks globally, David soon finds his entire
empire in jeopardy."
In fact, things went so sour that David Siegel decided to sue the filmmaker. Last month, he lost.
If you want, you - yes, you!- can purchase the house. It is on sale for a mere $65,000,000. - a steal, if you ask me. After all, it has 13 bedrooms and 26 bathrooms. (But wait! All full bathrooms have jacuzzis). Let's not forget the rock grotto with the 3 spas, the indoor roller rink or the "family wing" for the Siegels' eight children. Recently, construction started again - until recently the house was about 1/3 uncompleted, with the price tag of completion estimated at $30,000,000.
So, what does this have to do with Binghamton, a city of about 47,000. in upstate New York, once famously called by a newspaper "a burnt out industrial town". (Sadly, there is a lot of truth to that.)
Well, Jackie Siegel is a native of Binghamton. This 47 year old woman grew up in the middle class, still has childhood friends here, and graduated from RIT (the Rochester Institute of Technology), which one of my cousins went to.
In interviews, people who knew Jackie as a young adult remarked on her beauty. As far as whether that beauty is only skin deep you, my readers, will have to determine for yourself.
What do I think? I think Jackie lost track of her roots long ago. I don't feel for her. I do feel - a lot - for her children. I don't think that wealth equals happiness, and I hope her children do find happiness in their adult lives. Am I jealous of her and her wealth? Well, I could wish I didn't live in a neighborhood impacted by major flooding in 2011, but, in truth, I would not trade places with her. Ever.
Did a celebrity come from where you were born or live now?