At Wednesday’s meeting, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) Board of Supervisors passed Resolution No. 642, which allows them to create an enforcement citation program and appoint a special magistrate for appeals. This program allows enforcement officers to issue fines to “all groups and legal entities” within the District for violations of rules and regulations.
Enforcement Citation Program Resolution
The resolution can be read in full in the meeting agenda.
The brief description of Resolution No. 642 says it is for the Board to create “the enforcement citation program, a special magistrate position and appeal procedures; providing for severability, conflicts and an effective date.”
The staff report says the District “currently lacks code enforcement procedures and mechanisms. This resolution creates the enforcement citation program to provide a non-exclusive method to enforce its resolutions, regulations, rules, and codes. The enforcement citation program makes violations of its resolutions, regulations, rules, and codes subject to one of four classes of fines unless a particular resolution, regulation, rule, or code provisions designate a different fine amount.”
A resident of Celebration asked during Wednesday’s meeting what kinds of things would result in a citation. In vague terms, the Board answered that there would have to be a particular regulation the entity is in violation of, such as building codes and environmental requirements. They also noted there could be future regulations, and they are going to create a way for these to be clearly posted online. The program is just a “framework.”
The program introduces a method for the District administrator — newly appointed Glen Gilzean, Jr. — to designate code enforcement officers who would investigate violations and issue citations. Training would be established by the human resources division and approved by the District administrator.
The program also allows the Board to appoint a special magistrate to hear appeals of citations issued by the enforcement officers. The special magistrate must be a licensed attorney, not from the General Counsel’s office. The program allows for the imposition of fines, liens, and foreclosures of liens. There can also be appeals of the special magistrate’s decision to the circuit court.
The four classes of violations have fines of $75, $150, $250, and $500. The resolution includes provisions for how long an entity has to pay a fine or contest it.
Citations may be issued to “individuals, children, firms, associations, joint ventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups and legal entities or combinations thereof.”
How do you feel about this resolution? Let us know in the comments.
Fire Code Resolution
The CFTOD Board of Supervisors also passed Resolution No. 643 at Wednesday’s meeting. This resolution has the district adopt the Florida fire prevention code and create regulations concerning false alarms and enforcement mechanisms.
Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board of Supervisors
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board of Supervisors replaces the Reedy Creek Improvement District Board of Supervisors. The five members of the new Board were appointed by Governor DeSantis and recently confirmed by the Florida Senate.
Board chair Martin Garcia and vice chair Michael Sasso will serve four-year terms until February 26, 2027. The other three members — Brian August, Bridget Ziegler, and Ron Peri — will serve two-year terms until February 26, 2025.
Glen Gilzean, Jr. is the new District administrator, while John Classe has moved to an advisor role.
The CFTOD Board of Supervisors and Disney are currently suing each other.
Disney Suing DeSantis & CFTOD Board
In their lawsuit, Disney Parks & Resorts cites “a targeted campaign of government retaliation — orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech.” The plaintiff further argues that this chronology of events “threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights.”
Among other grievances, the Governor’s threat of new tolls and taxes, and the Board’s decision to void the company’s final agreement with the Reedy Creek Improvement District Board were included in the document.
They name Governor DeSantis, the CFTOD Board of Supervisors members, and now former District administrator John Classe.
The Walt Disney Company is suing for “declaratory and injunctive relief.” Injunctive relief forces a party to act in a certain way or prevents them from doing various things.
Disney regrets that it has come to this, but having exhausted efforts to seek a resolution, the Company is left with no choice but to file this lawsuit to protect its cast members, guests, and local development partners from a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials.
The company is demanding multiple items of relief be met, including:
- A. Declare that the Legislative Declaration is unlawful and unenforceable because it abrogates Disney’s rights in violation of the Contracts Clause;
- B. Declare that the Legislative Declaration is an unlawful taking of Disney’s property rights without payment of just compensation in violation of the Takings Clause;
- C. Declare that the Legislative Declaration is unlawful and unenforceable because it was an arbitrary and irrational voiding of the Development Agreement and Restrictive Covenants in violation of the Due Process Clause;
- D. Declare that the Legislative Declaration is unlawful and unenforceable because it was enacted in retaliation for Disney’s speech in violation of the First Amendment;
- E. Declare that the Contracts remain in effect and enforceable;
- F. Declare that Senate Bill 4C and House Bill 9B are unlawful and unenforceable because they were enacted in retaliation for Disney’s political speech in violation of the First Amendment;
- G. Issue an order enjoining Defendants from enforcing the Legislative Declaration;
- H. Issue an order enjoining Defendants from enforcing Senate Bill 4C and House Bill 9B;
- I. Award Plaintiff its attorney’s fees and costs;
- J. Grant such other relief as this Court may deem just and proper.
The CFTOD Board of Supervisors voted to file their own countersuit against Disney. While Disney’s lawsuit is through federal court, the Board’s lawsuit is through state court.
In their 188-page complaint, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District named itself as the plaintiff and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts US Inc. as the defendant. Through nearly 200 pages of legalese, the district asks the state court to render Disney’s development agreement with the Reedy Creek Improvement District as unenforceable, null, and void. They also ask the same to be done of the restrictive covenants, which notably set the benchmark for expiry at 21 years after the death of the last living descendant of King Charles III, living as of the date of the document.
The CFTOB additionally asks that all agreements cannot be enforced on Disney’s end either. Meanwhile, the Florida Legislature, which is controlled by Republicans and typically acts to rubber stamp Gov. DeSantis’ agenda, is working to pass a law that invalidates Disney’s agreement with Reedy Creek. Governor DeSantis said it was well within his power to do so.