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DeSantis appoints former Jeopardy Champ as new member of Central Florida Tourism Oversight District

Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced he is nominating Charbel Barakat to the board of his self appointed Central FloridaTourism Oversight District, which governs the Walt Disney World Resort, amid the feud with Disney.


DeSantis appoints former Jeopardy Champ as new member of Central Florida Tourism Oversight District

In abolishing the Reedy Creek Improvement District, DeSantis appointed a new tourist board with oversight of the area, and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board of Supervisors was born.


Ron DeSantis hand picked the members of the new board, including well know Orlando Attorney Michael Sasso, who DeSantis appointed Vice Chair, with a term that was due to last until February 26, 2027.


But after less than four months, Sasso resigned his position on the board days after his wife Meredith Sasso was appointed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to the Florida Supreme Court on May 23.


Now DeSantis has nominated Charbel Barakat to the board Charbel Barakat, a lawyer from Tampa who serves as the vice president of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Federalist Society and is the regional general counsel for D.R. Horton, Inc., who has said her is honored by the nomination.


“I’m honored to be asked by Gov. DeSantis to serve the people of Florida,” Barakat said in a press release from the board. “I hope to help bring additional efficiency, safety, and accountability to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District so that it may better serve the common good,” he continued.


Barakat, whose appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate, is slated to replace Michael Sasso.


Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board Chairman Martin Garcia said he is "thrilled" to have Barakat join the board.


“We are thrilled to have Charbel join the district board,” Garcia said in a statement. “His experience will help the district comply with all applicable Florida laws, develop new governance policies, create more financial transparency, evaluate new urban planning strategies, and promote more prosperity for more people in central Florida.”


Central Florida Tourism Oversight District offices

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