Final Scheduled Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board Meeting of 2023 Canceled Ahead of Disney, DeSantis Federal Lawsuit Hearing

Toni Ferrigno

Martin Garcia

Final Scheduled Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board Meeting of 2023 Canceled Ahead of Disney, DeSantis Federal Lawsuit Hearing

This week’s board meeting for the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) scheduled for Wednesday, December 13 at 9:30 a.m. has been canceled — just one day before the CFTOD Board and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are set to go to federal court against Disney.

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Meeting Canceled

bob iger ron desantis reedy creek

This week marks the beginning of the court hearings in the lawsuit between Disney, DeSantis, and the CFTOD board. The hearing is set for tomorrow, Tuesday, December 12 at 9:30 a.m.

The hearing comes after DeSantis and CFTOD filed to dismiss the federal lawsuit in late September. The governor initially filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in June, but had to re-file after Disney updated their lawsuit and changed some of their claims to be part of a countersuit at the state level.

Disney originally filed to sue DeSantis and the CFTOD Board, citing “a targeted campaign of government retaliation — orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech” related to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The CFTOD Board pushed back against this notion in their September motion to dismiss, stating “Disney does not have a First Amendment right to its preferred governance structure for the district in which it is located.” They say the First Amendment “does not constrain Florida’s decision to reconstitute state entities that exercise sovereign power.”

The Walt Disney Company asked the judge to reject DeSantis’ motion to dismiss in their late October response to the filing. DeSantis long has, and continues to, claim immunity in the lawsuit.

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District logo

As of the time of publication, no reason has been given by the CFTOD as to why the meeting was canceled. According to the District’s official website, “all public hearings and other agenda items previously scheduled” for this meeting “are continued to the regular CFTOD Board of Supervisor’s meeting set for 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 24, 2024.” This means that the board will not convene again for the remainder of 2023.

The CFTOD board recently accused Disney of bribing former Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) officials with gifts, and has called upon Florida legislature to make more “reforms” at Walt Disney World Resort.

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