DeSantis' Board Shocked as Disney Refuses to Play Ball

Toni Koraza
Photo byPhoto 28393352 / Florida © Puppie2008 |

Disney is proving hard to intimidate in Florida.

After Florida Governor DeSantis changed the laws targeting Disney specifically, he also appointed board members to supervise Walt Disney World's governance to make sure Disney would actually surrender to his will.

It seems like Disney has other plans. Disney-controlled predecessors pulled a fast one on the DeSantis'-appointed board and enacted restrictive covenants that limited the new board's authority.

At the meeting, the current Central Florida Tourism Oversight District supervisors said their predecessors signed a development deal with the company last month, giving Disney maximum development control over the theme park resort's 27,000 acres in central Florida.

The Republican governor appointed the five supervisors to the board after the Florida Legislature reorganized Disney's administration. This after the entertainment giant publicly opposed the so-called "Don't Say Gay" legislation, which forbids teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity.

By taking on Disney, DeSantis enhanced his reputation as a culture warrior ready to fight perceived political enemies and utilize the state's authority to achieve political and personal objectives. This approach may continue in the lead-up to his potential White House bid.

The new supervisors took over from a board that Disney had dominated for the 55 years that the government had been the Reedy Creek Improvement District. At their first meeting earlier this month, the newly appointed board members said they found out about the agreement only after their appointments.

According to Disney, all agreements were legal and made public.

"All agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in the open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida's Government in the Sunshine law," the statement said.

If DeSantis' board is not savvy enough to check Disney's development contracts before trying to barge in and seize control, how could they be fit to run the largest employer in the Sunshine State?

What do you think about DeSantis's fight with Disney?

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