According to a recently released public agenda, the DeSantis-appointed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board is meeting on April 26 to declare Disney’s last agreement with Reedy Creek null and void.
Disney’s Agreement With Reedy Creek to be Voided
The just released document covering the upcoming Central Florida Tourism Oversight District meeting agenda states board members plan to use part of their time to declare the last agreement between Disney and the Reedy Creek Improvement District as null and void.
Under the “New Business” section of the meeting plans, item 8.1 plans to address this legality as follows:
Approval of legislative findings regarding and declare the Development Agreement and Declaration of Restrictive Covenants entered into by the Reedy Creek Improvement District and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. void ab initio and direction to litigation counsel regarding same.
In a press conference Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a variety of potential changes coming down the pipeline for Walt Disney World though legal changes via his newly established Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board.
DeSantis claimed the “11th hour” agreement created by the Reedy Creek Improvement District was full of “a plethora of legal infirmities that render them void.” He stated his intention to examine lands included within the Reedy Creek District for public use, including the possibility of state parks, additional theme parks, or a State Penitentiary.
In addition, David H. Thompson from Cooper & Kirk stated that Disney was in violation of the Florida Sunshine Law, and “failed to mail notice to the other property owners in the district.” He also stated this overlooked action “dooms their entire effort.” Disney claimed previously that they had met all components of this legal requirement:
“All agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida Government in the Sunshine law.”
We’ll keep you updated with any new developments regarding the Florida Tourism Oversight District.
The Origin of the Disney-DeSantis Debacle
Governor DeSantis and The Walt Disney Company initially clashed over the corporation’s opposition to a much-debated and controversial Florida law regarding classroom instruction and discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools, alongside various other recent state laws and proposals in a similar vein.
Bob Chapek was Chief Executive Officer of Disney at the time, and initially remained silent and passive on the issue — until massive internal criticisms from cast members and controversy over Disney’s practice of making hefty political contributions to campaigns and individuals allegedly against their own stated human principles came into focus.
In an apparent act of retribution over this expression of dissent, the Governor moved forward with various verbal and legal assaults on Disney, including the dissolution of Reedy Creek and transfer of power directly under his control. DeSantis argues he is attacking a rather vague perception of something he calls “woke politics,” invading the state. He further says he aims to put the people of Florida first through his actions: “Disney has gotten away with special deals from the state of Florida for way too long. It took a look under the hood to see what Disney has become to truly understand their inappropriate influence.”
The Governor insists he will double down on efforts to punish Disney through methods both in the Legislature and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board. Notably, he promised to hike Disney’s hotel taxes and institute tolls on the roads around Walt Disney World Resort property.
What are your thoughts on the new board? We’d love to see your opinions in the comments below.
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