Chairman of Oversight District Board Martin Garcia Steps Down One Year After DeSantis Takeover

Brit Tuttle

Martin Garcia

Chairman of Oversight District Board Martin Garcia Steps Down One Year After DeSantis Takeover

A new report from the Associated Press has confirmed that Martin Garcia has stepped down as the chairman of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) board, just over a year after DeSantis signed the bill to take over the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Martin Garcia No Longer CFTOD Board Chairman

Martin Garcia

Garcia’s departure from the role comes a week after Glen Gilzean, the former district administrator, left his position to become the Orange County Supervisor of Elections. Earlier this week, DeSantis recommended key adviser Stephanie Kopelousos to replace Gilzean.

Garcia did not respond to the AP’s email request for comment.

Bryan Griffin, DeSantis’ communications director, thanked Garcia in an email for “successfully navigating” the district’s transition “from a governing body controlled by Disney supporters to the current iteration controlled by DeSantis appointees,” according to the AP. Griffin went on to say that Garcia “developed a new district focused on transparency and the elimination of corporate welfare.”

Martin Garcia has previously been very critical of Disney in the midst of the company’s legal battles with the District, previously saying that “Disney still holds too much sway” in the District, and that its stewardship of the former Reedy Creek Improvement District was “one of the greatest examples of corporate cronyism in modern American history.” He expressed delight when Disney’s First Amendment lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and CFTOD was dismissed in January 2024.

Over the past year, CFTOD has faced the loss of many employees, with over 30 as of October 2023, citing a “toxic” work environment.

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