Thursday 28 March 2024

DeSantis, Disney Court Battle Ends In Legal Settlement

 Disney and Florida officials have agreed to settle in a legal battle over the special tax district that houses the entertainment giant’s landmark resort.

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board sued Disney over an agreement that the previous board members struck with the corporation before they were replaced by Governor Ron DeSantis. The new settlement, which voided the previous agreement, was hailed by both Disney and DeSantis’ office.

DeSantis communications director Bryan Griffin said that Disney conceded that the settlement makes the previous agreement “null and void.”

“No corporation should be its own government,” Griffin told National Review. “Moving forward, we stand ready to work with Disney and the District to help promote economic growth, family-friendly tourism, and accountable government in Central Florida.”

Walt Disney World Resort President Jeff Vahle said the settlement sets the framework for future investment in the resort. Disney leaders have previously said that the feud with DeSantis would negatively impact the corporation’s investments in the state.

“This agreement opens a new chapter of constructive engagement with the new leadership of the district and serves the interests of all parties by enabling significant continued investment and the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs and economic opportunity in the State,” Vahle said, according to The Washington Post.

The feud between the Florida governor and the entertainment giant began in 2022 when Disney spoke out against the state’s proposed Parental Rights in Education bill, which critics denounced as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, for banning sexual orientation and gender identity lessons for young students.


In response to Disney’s activism, Florida Republicans targeted the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which gave Disney special tax breaks and a host of other advantages over the area that includes Walt Disney World. DeSantis signed legislation in February 2023 abolishing the special district and setting up the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board.

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