In a surprise move, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is taking a stand against Walt Disney Company’s last-minute attempt to seize control of a special district in the state. The company had enjoyed self-governing status in the district for decades, and a state-appointed board was set to take control. But before that could happen, Disney attempted an eleventh-hour maneuver to give itself unlimited development power within the 27,000 acres it owns.
In response, DeSantis immediately commissioned a report to find out about the legality of the old board’s actions and ordered an investigation into Disney’s actions. According to sources, the investigation has already revealed that Disney skipped some key items when it amended its development agreement and the resolution could be dead on arrival. For instance, according to Florida law, all affected property owners should have been given notice by mail, but Disney skipped this step.
DeSantis is also taking action with the legislature to fight back against Disney’s actions. He has been quoted as saying that Disney’s actions are an “embarrassment,” and some officials have called them an illegal “poison pill” intended to undercut state supervision of its special tax district. They argue that the secret maneuver would be subject to swift legislative reversal.
Disney’s sloppy and futile attempt to subvert the will of the Legislature and Floridians was uncovered by our state oversight board and their 11th hour agreements will be nullified by the Legislature.
Disney’s corporate kingdom is over. pic.twitter.com/GomGyfEDLS
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 17, 2023
At this time, it is unclear how the outcome of this situation will play out. It is clear, however, that DeSantis is taking a strong stance against Disney’s attempt to seize control of the district. He is relying on both legal and legislative action to make sure that Disney’s actions are not successful. It remains to be seen if he will be successful in his efforts, but it is certain that he is not going down without a fight.