After his office released a statement, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis responded directly to the news of Disney and Reedy Creek Improvement District’s last-minute agreements before the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board took over, CNN reports.
DeSantis said during a book tour event in Smyrna, Georgia, on Thursday, “There’s a lot of little back-and-forths going on now with the state taking control, but rest assured, you know, you ain’t seen nothing yet. There’s more to come in that regard.”
The new Central Florida Tourism Oversight board, with members appointed by DeSantis, is accusing Disney of “overreach” and pursuing legal action regarding agreements publicly approved at a Reedy Creek meeting on February 8. One of Reedy Creek’s important agreements includes the Declaration of Restrictive Covenants and the Developer’s Agreement — which outlines Disney’s rights over District property for the next 30 years, regardless of what the new board says.
“They basically got everything they wanted for the many decades they’ve been operating in Florida – until now, because now there’s a new sheriff in town,” DeSantis said on Thursday, repeating the “new sheriff in town” phrase he used when he signed the Reedy Creek takeover bill into law.
Special Counsel was hired to challenge agreements Reedy Creek’s old board approved right before the new board took over. The Special Counsel indicated during yesterday’s meeting that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District should hire more law firms to take on Disney so that everyone has an even chance. They suggested using firms with a “deeper bench,” meaning firms that have a strong team of lawyers.
The board’s legal team, Fishback Dominick LLP, Cooper & Kirk PLLC, Lawson Huck Gonzalez PLLC, Waugh Grant PLLC, and Nardella & Nardella PLLC, released this statement:
“The lack of consideration, the delegation of legislative authority to a private corporation, restriction of the Board’s ability to make legislative decisions, and giving away public rights without compensation for a private purpose, among other issues, warrant the new Board’s actions and direction to evaluate these overreaching documents and determine how best the new Board can protect the public’s interest in compliance with Florida Law.”
Disney released the following statement on Wednesday:
“All agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida Government in the Sunshine law.”
The Executive Office of the Governor reached out to WDWNT yesterday with this statement from Communications Director Taryn Fenske:
“The Executive Office of the Governor is aware of Disney’s last-ditch efforts to execute contracts just before ratifying the new law that transfers rights and authorities from the former Reedy Creek Improvement District to Disney. An initial review suggests these agreements may have significant legal infirmities that would render the contracts void as a matter of law. We are pleased the new Governor-appointed board retained multiple financial and legal firms to conduct audits and investigate Disney’s past behavior.”
We looked over the Declaration, which includes a clause that would keep the Declaration in effect until 21 years after the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III passes away. The Declaration also states that the board cannot use any of Disney’s “fanciful characters.”
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District argues that the aforementioned agreements are unlawful and should not have been allowed. Ron Peri, who is one of the new Board Members, argued that the agreements have stripped the board of all of its power and made Disney the government. He asked that the board fight this.
Martin Garcia, the CFTOD Board Chair, discussed how powerful and rich Disney is and how they would need to take an “adversarial position” against the company. He also suggested that they take this case to the Supreme Court in “protected litigation” against Disney.
Stay tuned for future updates as the matter proceeds.
What do you think about the recent developments in the CFTOD fight against Disney? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out more of our articles on the ongoing battle with Reedy Creek here:
- DeSantis Hopes Reedy Creek Board Appointees Will Help Disney Bring ‘Entertainment All Families Can Appreciate’
- Governor DeSantis Signs Reedy Creek Takeover Bill Into Law, Doubles Down on It Responding to Disney’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Opposition
- Walt Disney World President Says They are ‘Ready to Work’ With State Takeover of Reedy Creek