- Ron DeSantis’ hand-picked board of directors is trying to regain power over Disney World.
- A previous Disney-backed board stripped DeSantis appointees of power.
- Now the DeSantis board – which oversees the area around Disney World – wants to give itself “higher authority”.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ hand-picked board overseeing Walt Disney World is trying to reclaim “superior authority” after the previous board crippled its power, according to a new proposal.
The painting action is the latest move in the closely watched power struggle over who controls Disney territory.
The DeSantis-Disney feud began last year, after Disney executives publicly opposed the Parental Rights in Education Act, legislation that LGBTQ rights groups and Democrats have called a “Don’t say gay” because it limits classroom teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation. .
DeSantis responded by signing a new law that allowed him to appoint board members to oversee Disney lands.
But a few days before that happened, Disney invoked an obscure property law under the old board that essentially rendered the DeSantis-appointed board toothless.
DeSantis promised during a stopover in Michigan last week that he would reverse Disney actions to maintain his power and would also consider hotel taxes, new tolls and development properties.
And now, in its latest decision, the DeSantis board has moved to appoint itself the “highest authority” over the entire Disney World district, according to a resolution.
If passed, the resolution would give the DeSantis board of directors complete control “over overall planning, zoning, land use regulations, environmental protection regulations, and environmental protection regulations. plateaus and subdivisions”, indicates the resolution.
“Disney may have run the state of Florida for the 60 years before my appointment as governor,” DeSantis said in Michigan last week, “but they don’t run it as long as this sheriff is in town.”
The proposal will be considered at the next board meeting on April 19.
This isn’t DeSantis’ first retaliatory attempt against Disney, though the various moves have targeted a long-in-the-books provision that gives the resort and theme park special privileges of self-governance in Florida — privileges that many other companies, including rival theme parks like Sea World and Universal Studios, don’t.
DeSantis first signed a bill in April 2022 to dissolve the District of Reedy Creek who oversees Disney. But when it was revealed that the measure could have caused residents to take on significant debt through higher taxes, the Legislature sent DeSantis a new bill in February 2023, during a special session, creating the council appointed by the governor.
Disney, however, had written the Rift to retain the majority of its power, virtually in perpetuity.
The board’s latest attempt to wrestle with power isn’t the DeSantis administration’s only move targeting Disney. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody asked Text messages, emails and other public records from former members of the Reedy Creek Improvement District Board of Directors. DeSantis too asked the State Inspector General to examine Disney’s power play, including whether executives, staff or agents of the mega-corporation were involved.
The governor’s appointees to the board are consulting with four different law firms on the matter, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Disney said its decision was “discussed and approved in open and noticed public forums.”