NEWS: DeSantis-Appointed District Board Will Sue Disney

As the ongoing battle between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues both in the public eye and behind closed doors, many have speculated on what will happen going forward now that Disney has filed a federal lawsuit against DeSantis and the members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’s new Board of Supervisors.

Walt Disney World

Following the news of the recent lawsuit, the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board held a meeting on the morning of May 1st, 2023. Let’s talk about what happened. 

As a quick refresher, Gov. DeSantis installed a new board to take over the Reedy Creek Improvement District following news that Disney issued a statement against Florida’s controversial Parental Rights in Education law. The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board (which is the new name for the Reedy Creek Improvement District) has met several times since taking over, sharing plans to make COVID-19 policy changes, change the monorail inspection policy, and more. 

Reedy Creek

Ahead of the meeting, the Orlando Business Journal indicated that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board planned to meet to discuss Disney’s recently filed lawsuit. In short, the lawsuit alleges that Disney’s First Amendment rights were violated, with Disney claiming the Governor has waged a “relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney.”

©Governor Ron DeSantis Website

In response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson for DeSantis said that Disney seeks to “undermine the will of the Florida voters,” according to Variety. Further, spokesperson Taryn Fenske said, “We are unaware of any legal right that a company has to operate its own government or maintain special privileges not held by other businesses in the state.”

©Governor Ron DeSantis Website

The May 1st meeting agenda had only one item, and it officially read, “Board discussion and direction to litigation counsel and authorization to defend District officials sued in official capacities.” The meeting itself was fairly short, and there was one main result — the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board has announced its own lawsuit against Disney.

Cinderella Castle

The head of the board, Martin Garcia, shared a statement on Disney’s lawsuit, saying, “Since Disney sued us — yes, we didn’t sue Disney. Disney sued us. We ha[ve] no choice now but to respond. This is why we called today’s meeting, to authorize legal action in response to Disney’s federal lawsuit. This district will seek justice in state court here in central Florida where both it and Disney reside and do business. Yes, we’ll seek justice in our own backyard.”

Reedy Creek Building

Garcia continued, “And so with those comments, I’d like to make a motion to authorize a state court lawsuit to be filed by the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts USA, Inc. and such other parties as may be needed to uphold and enforce the board’s April 26th, 2023 legislative findings relating to the February 8th, 2023 development agreement and declaration of restrictive covenants, and to have that litigation counsel defend the board of supervisors and the district administrator sued in their official capacities by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts USA, Inc. in federal court on April 26th, 2023.”

©Disney | Walt Disney Company Headquarters

This is an entirely new and different lawsuit from what was filed by The Walt Disney Company against DeSantis and the board. While Disney’s lawsuit is in federal court, this one will be filed in state court. This one also comes straight from the board and doesn’t seem to involve DeSantis directly. We’ll be interested to see what the specific language is on the lawsuit once it’s filed so that we can get more details.

This is a developing story, so check back with us for the latest news.

Click here to learn more about the lawsuit against DeSantis and the District Board

Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!

The post NEWS: DeSantis-Appointed District Board Will Sue Disney first appeared on the disney food blog.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.