Ron DeSantis and Board Prepare to Make Final Stand Against Disney

in Walt Disney World

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis looking shocked with the entrance sign to the former Reedy Creek to the right and the Cinderella Castle in the background inside of Magic Kingdom at Disney World.

Credit: Inside The Magic

A United States District judge has set a date for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) to make their final stand in an attempt to dismiss the lawsuits brought up by Walt Disney World (WDW).

Governor Ron DeSantis looking surprised by the Walt and Mickey statue at Disney World
Credit: CBS/Inside the Magic

The Disney vs. DeSantis Lawsuit

This entire legal and political war began when DeSantis disagreed with Disney’s political stance with a bill that became law some time ago. According to USA Today, Disney claimed that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis retaliated against the company because it disagreed with his “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The bill bans education about sexual orientation and gender identity in some Florida classrooms.

Due to the bill being so polarizing, Ron DeSantis decided to specifically go after WDW since the company holds so much power within the state of Florida, and DeSantis disagrees with a company that has so much influence speaking up and taking a side with a political stance. DeSantis did file his counter-lawsuit against WDW.

Disney went after the Florida governor after the governor spoke ill many times of the House of Mouse and filed a lawsuit earlier this year. But that’s not all; the CFTOD also filed a different lawsuit against WDW. Disney CEO Bob Iger did respond to the Florida governor, saying, “A company has a right to freedom of speech just like individuals do.”

The former Reedy Creek signage inside of Magic Kingdom Disney Park in Disney World with Ron DeSantis looking shocked.
Credit: Inside The Magic

The Disney vs. CFTOD Lawsuit

Disney has a lawsuit against the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The case focuses on the company’s claim that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his allies retaliated against Disney for exercising its right to free speech. Disney has withdrawn four of its five claims against DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), which governs the Walt Disney World Resort.

The Walt Disney Company is the majority landowner in Reedy Creek. Before the passage of House Bill 9 in 2023, the District’s landowners elected the Board of Supervisors. The Florida governor now controls the District, which has since gotten high scrutiny from the general public.

But now, it would appear that Ron DeSantis and his board have one last stand to make against Disney as a new trial date has been set in motion.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with the Magic Kingdom Disney World Park in the background.
Credit: Inside The Magic

The Florida Governor and the CFTOD Make Their Final Stand

According to industry insider and reporter Scott Gustin, a United States District Judge has set a new hearing date between Disney World, DeSantis, and the CFTOD.

NEW: U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor has set a Dec. 12 hearing date to consider arguments by attorneys for DeSantis and CFTOD to dismiss the lawsuit. The motion to dismiss was filed in September.

According to the new information provided by Gustin, District Judge Allen Winsor has set a hearing date for December 12 to consider a motion to dismiss arguments that the Florida governor and his board will present. This would mean that this is DeSantis and is the board’s final stand to bring about documentation, witnesses, and more against Disney to dismiss the lawsuits before the year’s end.

With the 2024 Presidential elections a little under a year away, the dismissal of the lawsuits would greatly assist DeSantis’ Presidential bid and put the ball back in his court in time for the new fiscal year. Some major accusations have come forth against the CFTOD recently, which has not helped DeSantis or his board members.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis waving inside of a frame with the Cinderella Castle and the Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue to the right.
Credit: Edited by Inside The Magic

Accusations Against the Ron DeSantis board, the CFTOD

Recently, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has been under hot waters following some serious allegations made against the district’s board members.

This week, insider-dealing allegations have been brought against the CFTOD after news came out of a deal made between a board member and a lawyer who will get a $500 per hour paycheck.

A recent report has surfaced, revealing disturbing information about the conduct of the DeSantis board, particularly concerning insider trading practices. Approximately two weeks ago, it was disclosed that members of the governor’s appointed Disney district engaged in awarding a $240,000 contract to a political insider without soliciting bids from other companies. Notably, this non-competitive contract was granted to an individual holding a significant position as one of the state’s state’s officials. However, recent revelations suggest this incident was merely the initial glimpse into a broader pattern of insider dealings within the former Reedy Creek district.

In a separate incident, a political connection appeared to benefit from a no-bid arrangement under questionable circumstances. The district approved a legal contract, compensating the attorney at $495 per hour. This lawyer had previously contributed to the chairman’s ascension role overseeing Disney. The lawyer was listed as a reference chairman in the chairman’s confirmation process. Subsequently, following the chairman’s appointment, the chairman awarded the lucrative legal contract to the lawyer’s firm, bypassing the lawyer’s rations for other firms. This situation has raised legitimate concerns about the ethical standards the Disney board maintains.

The Florida governor with his hands raised next to Mickey Mouse in a white dinner coat
Credit: Inside the Magic

The CFTOD also desires to separate itself from the Walt Disney Company. In a report by WFTV9, the Central Florida Transportation and Off-Duty Security (CFTOD) is allocating $1 million towards establishing a new communication network, thereby initiating a complete separation from the existing Walt Disney World (WDW) system. Glen Gilzean, the head of CFTOD, directly disclosed this information.

The primary objective of this significant investment is to enhance the efficiency of 911 calls and response times. Notably, the one-million-dollar investment is set to benefit Freddie Figgers, a member of the ethics commission with whom Gilzean collaborated just three months ago. Gilzean, compelled to step down from the ethics committee, faced this decision after it was revealed that simultaneously holding both positions violated Florida state law.

In recent news, Disney has shown its massive power over the Central Florida economy.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in front of Cinderella Castle at Disney World
Credit: Disney

Disney World Shows Immense Power Over Central Florida Economy, Ron DeSantis

In 2022, Walt Disney World played a substantial role in bolstering the Central Florida economy, injecting an impressive $40.3 billion and contributing to the creation of 250,000 direct and indirect jobs, as indicated by a recent study conducted by Oxford Economics.

However, the subsequent transition of Reedy Creek under Ron DeSantis into the Central Florida Transportation and Off-Duty Security (CFTOD) has raised concerns about the continued success of the Disney enterprise. While specific fiscal figures for the 2023 year are yet to be disclosed, the early assessment suggests a potential decline compared to the prosperous year of 2022. If substantiated by future reports, this decline may underscore the impact of the CFTOD on the Disney economy in Florida, emphasizing the need for a closer examination of the ongoing developments.

An image to the left of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with a photo to the right of the Magic Kingdom castle with a vs. graphic in the middle.
Credit: Edited by Inside The Magic

As the December trial date looms, the political and legal war between DeSantis and Disney World could shift in favor of either the Florida governor or Disney. With less than a month to go until the motion to dismiss trial, the next few weeks will be engaging in terms of who will come out on top before the ring in of the new year.

Follow Inside The Magic for more news and updates on the ongoing war between Disney, DeSantis, and the CFTOD.

Comments Off on Ron DeSantis and Board Prepare to Make Final Stand Against Disney