DeSantis Board Tries To Rewrite History, Claims Disney District Never Existed

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Ron DeSantis surrounded by Disney characters

Credit: Inside the Magic

The special board handpicked by Ron DeSantis to replace the Disney-controlled Reedy Creek Improvement District is now claiming that the area never legally existed, and thus, Disney’s lawsuit should be thrown out.

ron desantis disney
Credit: Wikimedia

The various legal battles between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Walt Disney Company get more complicated by the day. Originally, the conflict between the House of Mouse and the presidential candidate began after former Disney CEO Bob Chapek came out against Florida’s HB 1557, better known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

This triggered an escalating series of actions by DeSantis that culminated in the governor dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special tax district that had essentially allowed Disney to run the area around Walt Disney World since 1967.

Related: Disney Checkmates DeSantis, Board Begs To Stop Lawsuit

DeSantis replaced Reedy Creek with the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and installed a new board of hand-picked members (who have had their own problems, more on that later).

Ron DeSantis speaking, edited to look like he is in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort.
Credit: Inside the Magic

Now, DeSantis and Disney are embroiled in two different lawsuits, which, by and large, Disney’s massive army of lawyers seems to be winning.

It seems that in order to try to get out of at least one lawsuit, the DeSantis board is asserting that Reedy Creek essentially never existed in the first place.

DeSantis Board vs. History

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has asked a state court to dismiss Disney’s lawsuit regarding the Walt Disney World area, claiming that because the company’s contracts have been voided, “as a matter of Florida law and therefore have never had any legal force or existence.”

The DeSantis board says that “All of Disney’s counterclaims fail as a matter of law” (per CNBC) on the grounds that once a contract is voided, they have fundamentally never existed at all, which would seem to be claiming that Reedy Creek never existed.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Credit: Ron DeSantis

In another filing, the board claims that “Disney has unclean hands…[and] maintained absolute control over the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) before the District replaced RCID.” Additionally, it says that “[Disney] the cause of the Agreements’ invalidity… [and] knew or should have known that the Agreements were fatally defective.”

For its part, Disney denies that the contracts are void. The court has not yet responded to the board’s request to dismiss the case.

DeSantis Board Problems (Other Than Disney)

Although Governor DeSantis initially touted his handpicked board as a victory over Walt Disney World, it has been mired in controversy ever since Reedy Creek was dissolved.

One member of the board was discovered to have taught debunked and false history about American slavery, including that Irish immigrants were enslaved and “large” numbers of Black people owned slaves.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on stage
Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Related: DeSantis Seriously Wrecks Florida Tourism Industry, “They’re Really Suffering”

Another was found to be breaking Florida state law by accepting a controversially well-paid position on DeSantis’ board while also serving as the chair of Florida’s ethics commission. He resigned from his position on the ethics commission while claiming he was unaware of the conflict of interest law.

We will update with further developments on the DeSantis-Disney legal conflicts!

Do you think the court should throw out the Reedy Creek lawsuit? Did Reedy Creek retroactively cease to exist because of voided contracts? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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