Disney Sues Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor DeSantis moves to 'nullify' Disney efforts to circumvent state oversight

(Source from Reuters/Alamy)

The newly appointed board for a special tax district encompassing Walt Disney World sued the company in Orlando on Monday to try to regain control over expansion at the theme park complex. The complaint involves a pair of contracts that Disney World struck with a prior board that Disney controlled, which lock in a comprehensive plan for growth on Disney셲 25,000-acre property near Orlando, including the possible construction of a fifth theme park and 14,000 additional hotel rooms. Disney declined to comment.혻 The lawsuit is the latest volley in a 14-month dispute between Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Disney World, the state셲 largest tax payer and the nation셲 largest single-site employer. Last week, after the new board voted to nullify the development agreements, Disney sued Mr. DeSantis and the new board members, claiming 쏿 targeted campaign of government retaliation. Disney filed its lawsuit in federal court in Tallahassee. The conflict started in March 2022, when Disney joined other companies in criticizing a contentious state education law that prohibits classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity for young students. A 56-year-old special tax district that includes Disney World effectively turned the property into its own county, giving Disney unusual control over fire protection, policing, waste management, road maintenance, bond issuance, and the planning of real estate development. In February, lawmakers stripped control of the district셲 five-member board from Disney and handed it to the governor.Disney sues DeSantis over government 'retaliation'

(Source from Reuters/Alamy)

When Mr. DeSantis셲 appointees reported for duty, they were incensed to discover that the outgoing board had approved certain development agreements, limiting the new board셲 power for decades to come. Disney has repeatedly described the agreements as 쏿ppropriate and struck in public meetings advertised in The Orlando Sentinel, but the new board contends that the agreements were illegal. Disney is also trying to wrest back control over a growth plan that was already cleared by the DeSantis administration, but that was before Disney took the additional step of locking in the approvals. Recently, Disney expanded its federal lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, accusing the Republican leader of doubling down on his 쐒etribution campaign against the company by signing legislation to void Disney셲 development deals in Orlando. Disney also noted that Florida셲 Republican-led Legislature passed legislation last week targeting Walt Disney World셲 monorail system. Disney alleges that DeSantis began a war of retaliation against the company in 2022, after it publicly criticized the controversial Florida bill that limits discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms.혻 The district셲 new board of supervisors, which had been hand-picked by DeSantis, voted to nullify development deals that Disney struck shortly before they replaced the old board. The board members claimed the deals were unlawfully passed and undercut their power over the 25,000-acre area.

JULIE KIM
Asia Journal