In an effort to stop Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) from seizing power over its board, Disney quietly used legal technicalities to stop the planned takeover of the board of its special tax district.
WKMG reported on the maneuver, claiming that Disney’s move has essentially stripped all power away from the new board, which was appointed by DeSantis.
“I cannot tell you the level of my disappointment in Disney. I thought so much better of them,” commented Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board (CFTOB) member Ron Peri.
“This essentially makes Disney the government,” added Peri. “This board loses, for practical purposes, the majority of its ability to do anything beyond maintain the roads and maintain basic infrastructure.”
DeSantis has reportedly since called for an investigation into the new revelations:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for an investigation into the special district that oversees Walt Disney World Monday, escalating his battle with the company after he replaced the special district’s board with political appointees. pic.twitter.com/Ut3YWXPjzU
— Forbes (@Forbes) April 3, 2023
As was noted by Blaze Media, CFTOB was put into place by DeSantis after he approved a bill that ended Disney’s previous acting board, the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
Fox News reported that Disney transferred much of the board’s power and purview to another area in order to secure control just “hours” before Florida’s House allowed a state takeover.
According to National Public Radio, Disney’s action is titled a “Declaration of Restrictive Covenants,” and allows for the corporation to have the final say on any modifications to the property and mandates the board to tell it about any desired changes.
This seems to corroborate claims made by Peri on the matter, who lamented that the board can do little more than simply “maintain the roads and maintain basic infrastructure.”
Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, a DeSantis spokesperson acknowledged that the sunshine state’s battle with Disney is not over yet, stating, “An initial review suggests these agreements may have significant legal infirmities that would render the contracts void as a matter of law.”
The spokesperson added that the CFTOB had “retained multiple financial and legal firms to conduct audits and investigate Disney’s past behavior.”
DeSantis was seemingly not expecting Disney’s sudden move given his decision to launch a probe into its actions.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has since complained about DeSantis, reportedly characterizing him as “anti-Florida” and “anti-business” in a shareholder meeting held Monday.