DeSantis Disney Appointee Resigns After Breaking Florida State Law

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A top Disney ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis resigns after it was revealed he was breaking Florida state law.

Glen Gilzean Jr.
Credit: National Urban League

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In a new update, Glen Gilzean resigns as chairman of Florida’s ethic commission after concerns grew surrounding his other position with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD). Florida law forbids public figures to serve on the panel, meaning Gilzean had to resign from one position or the other.

Gilzean resigned Tuesday and will keep working as chief of Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ Disney district. Gilzean is paid $400,000 annually for this position.

Gilzean claimed she was unaware of a conflict of interest in his resignation letter until media reports started reporting of the story last week. This is the latest update in the ongoing feud between Florida and The Walt Disney Company, a feud that started all the way back in 2020 when then-CEO Bob Chapek publicly criticized a highly controversial Florida bill spearheaded by Gov. DeSantis. Now, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger has been thrust into the middle of this fierce battle.

Liberty Square Riverboat in the Magic Kingdom
Credit: Walt Disney World Resort

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“The potential for a conflict between my position with the District and with my service on the Commission on Ethics did not come up at that time with any of the counsel that I consulted, including the Commission’s General Counsel,” Gilzean wrote. “Regrettably, if I had been aware of any issue presented by serving in the two positions, I would have addressed it immediately.”

DeSantis & Disney

As we stated earlier, this is all a direct result of the spark that was lit back in 2020 due to The Walt Disney Company and Florida’s public disagreement regarding the Parental Rights in Education Act, or as it’s more commonly referred to, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. DeSantis seemingly took this personally, embarking on a mission to attack the Walt Disney Parks and strip the Walt Disney Company of its self-governing status in Florida. Thanks to the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, for decades, the Walt Disney World Resort operated as its own entity in Orlando, allowing projects to be built quicker. Disney also employed thousands of its own first responders and public service workers.

This was stripped away in early 2023 after months of threats from Gov. DeSantis and other high-profile Republicans. The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District was created, with DeSantis appointing multiple officials to lead the new district. Disney did not take this lightly, however, with The Walt Disney Company suing DeSants and the new district for multiple violations.

DeSantis and his team countersued Disney in an attempt to strike down the original lawsuit but were unsuccessful. Disney eventually filed a second lawsuit against the district, citing a violation of Florida state law.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more details!

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