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Enemy At the Gate - Bully Gov DeSantis threatens to build a State Prison next to Walt Disney World!!

Earlier today, Monday, April 17, we brought you the news that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was ready to announce plans to void the deal that was made between Reedy Creek Improvement District and Walt Disney World that quietly stripped the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District of its development power before Disney handed over control to DeSantis and his self appointed new board.

The latest on the ongoing one man drama is that the governor has now held a press conference this afternoon at the Reedy Creek Administration Building in Lake Buena Vista.

DeSantis has revealed that there is legislation coming that will revoke the development agreement passed by the Reedy Creek board before the state took over the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

DeSantis claimed the “11th hour” agreement created by the Reedy Creek Improvement District was full of “a plethora of legal infirmities that render them void.”

He stated his intention to examine lands included within the Reedy Creek District for public use, including some ideas that the new board had floated, including the possibility of state parks, additional theme parks, or a State Penitentiary.

YES, DeSantis said that this includes the state board being able to decide what to do with undeveloped land within the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, whether that be a state park, additional theme parks, or a State Penitentiary.! YES! SERIOUSLY!!

So DeSantis believes he can decide what Disney can do with THEIR land, and honestly what is DeSantis thinking, a prison???

Yeah, way to go for helping Florida's tourism.

Also as predicted DeSantis said the state will also take over inspections of rides at the theme parks.

At the press conference, the newly elected Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson talked about further steps that the State could take.

Simpson said that there is a proposal from DeSantis and the Florida Legislature that would allow the State to have a new inspection process for Disney World attractions.

Currently, Disney World is one of a handful of theme park operators that are exempt from inspections but must report injuries to the state. Other theme park operators included in the 2001 “MOU Exempt Facilities” list include SeaWorld, Universal Orlando, Busch Gardens, and Legoland.

BUT, DeSantis said that the law would be drawn to only target special districts, ie Walt Disney World, YES, MORE BULLY TACTICS FROM THE STATE BULLY!

Gov DeSantis threatens to build a State Prison next to Walt Disney World!!

DeSantis appears to be in no mood for backing down as he continues his mission to damage Disney for daring to stand up to him, despite all that he company has brought to Florida over the years.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appears to be a bully, hell bend on punishing tourists and harming Florida's tourism in his personal bitter feud with Disney.

Come hell or high water, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is out to get Disney, no matter what, and YES, this could damage the sunshine states tourism industry!!

DeSantis's has already revealed that his hand picked Board of Supervisors of the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District that DeSantis forced onto Disney, is to make a resolution for “Superior Authority” over the district.

Another change within section 7 of the RCID Land Development Regulations seeks to replace the Planning Board, which is a separate Advisory Board within the District, with the Board of Supervisors. The amendment would replace the Planning Board as the “local planning agency” with the Board of Supervisors.

The Board of Supervisors would then be able to make development decisions and the amendment says that DeSantis’ hand-picked Board would be “the final decision-making authority for the District” and that “no further administrative appeal is available” once the rubber stamp Board has made a decision.

This means that DeSantis and his hand picked board would be able to deny future developments in Walt Disney World, which sounds super for Florida's tourism!

Plus, DeSantis has decided that he wants to replace the Planning Board with his Board of Supervisors.

The five-member Planning Board is currently a separate Advisory Board. If the Board of Supervisors takes over, that means they would be “the final decision-making authority for the District” and that “no further administrative appeal is available” after the board has made a decision.

The members of the Planning Board have term limits of three years, but the new amendment would remove term limits, and honestly, it appears that DeSantis is making things up as he goes along in his war against Disney.

This all comes on the back of multiple threats from DeSantis towards Walt Disney World in a speech he delivered at Hillsdale College, a conservative liberal arts college in Michigan.

DeSantis said “They are not superior to the people of Florida. So come hell or high water we’re going to make sure that policy of Florida carries the day. And so they can keep trying to do things. But ultimately we’re going to win on every single issue involving Disney I can tell you that.”

DeSantis also promised to double down on his efforts to punish Disney through methods both in the Legislature and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board.

This effectively means that DeSantis is threatening to hike Disney’s hotel taxes and set up tolls on the roads around Walt Disney World Resort property!!

This is bad news for visitors to the sunshine state and in particular to the majority of those visitors who choose to visit Walt Disney World, harming tourism and the state of Florida, simply because DeSatis has a personal grudge with Disney.

Also to inflame the situation further, in a separate speech hosted by the Midland County Republican Party in Michigan, the governor said “Disney tried to pull a fast one on the way out the door. That story’s not over yet. Buckle up. There’s more coming down the pike.”

Gov DeSantis now plans to PUNISH TOURISTS by taxing roads & raising hotel taxes at Walt Disney World

Bob Iger has already accused the Governor of harming Florida, and it appears the Governor is determined to to just that!

Here is what Iger had to say on the matter...

Speaking on April 3 at The Walt Disney Company 2023 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, CEO Bob Iger addressed the current controversy surrounding Florida Governor Ron DeSantis apparent war on the company.

Iger said that The Walt Disney Company were exercising their right to free speech and that now Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is retaliating against them and their right to free speech.

Iger proudly proclaimed “We love the State of Florida,” before pointing out the company’s many investments in the local community over the years, he in turn, also acknowledged that he respected and appreciated what the State has done for Disney.

He then went on to reference Disney's response to the Don’t Say Gay controversy (Parental Rights in Education bill), and said that although he thought that the situation was not well handled, Disney still has a right to free speech.

“While the company may have not handled the position that it took very well, a company has a right to freedom of speech, just like individuals do, and obviously in taking the position, the governor got very angry about the position Disney took, and seems like he’s decided to retaliate against us, including the naming of a new board to oversee the property and the business, in effect to seek to punish a company for its exercise of a constitutional right,”

He directly accused Governor DeSantis of retaliating against Disney and punishing them for exercising a constitutional right.

He claimed that “Any action that supports those efforts simply to retaliate for a position Disney took sounds not just anti-business, but it sounds anti-Florida, and I’ll just leave it at that”

Iger said it seems “really wrong” for DeSantis to punish and call out a company that loves and provides so much for the state of Florida “in the form of jobs and community service taxes... tourism, of course, and all sorts of other responsible business practices.”

Igor pointed out the importance of Disney to Florida, and what the company bring to the table, with over 75,000 employees in Florida and the 50 million plus visitors they have brought to the state this year alone, including 8 million internationally.

Igor went on to reveal that Disney is set to invest billions in Walt Disney World over the next 10 years, bringing thousands of new jobs to the area.

The Disney CEO also pointed out that Disney is the largest taxpayer in the state.

The unhappy Govenor has previously ordered a criminal investigation into the deal that Disney openly made with the former Reedy Creek Improvement District that gave Disney maximum developmental power over its territory for the next 30 years.

Of course, we are now seeing a push back from the governor who will not want to be seen as the man who got out-manouverd by Mickey Mouse!

DeSantis said “There’s a lot of little back-and-forths going on now with the state taking control, but rest assured, you know, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” telling a crowd in Smyrna, Georgia. “There’s more to come in that regard.”

Read on for details...

The Executive Office of the Governor shared the following letter from Governor DeSantis to Melinda Miguel, Chief Inspector General of the State of Florida outlining the ordered investigation:

Dear Ms. Miguel:

On February 27, 2023, I signed House Bill 9-B, Reedy Creek Improvement District, Orange, and Osceola Counties, which replaced the Disney-controlled Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) with a new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), and appointed five new members to the CFTOD board. Recently, the new board members informed the public that they had uncovered that, immediately before the enactment of House Bill 9-B, the RCID Board of Supervisors attempted to enter into last-minute development and restrictive covenant agreements with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc. (Walt Disney World), designed to usurp the authority of the CFTOD board. These collusive and self-dealing arrangements aim to nullify the recently passed legislation, undercut Florida’s legislative process, and defy the will of Floridians. In addition, based on initial observations of counsel, the RCID board’s actions appear to suffer from serious legal infirmities, including, among other things, inadequate notice, lack of consideration, improper delegation of authority, and ethical violations, such as conflicts of interest and self-dealing.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 14.32, Florida Statutes, I formally request that you, as the Chief Inspector General of the State of Florida, in consultation with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, launch a thorough review and investigation into the actions of the RCID Board of Supervisors described above. Such investigation should include analysis of the following:

  • RCID’s adherence to applicable Florida civil and criminal laws and ethics requirements;

  • The qualifications of RCID’s prior Board of Supervisors and the legal validity of their actions;

  • The involvement of Walt Disney World employees and agents in the execution of RCID’s actions;

  • Any financial gain or benefit derived by Walt Disney World as a result of RCID’s actions and RCID’s justification for such actions;

  • All RCID board, employee, or agent communications related to RCID’s actions, including those with Walt Disney World employees and agents; and

  • All RCID board, employee, or agent communications related to House Bill 9-B, Reedy Creek Improvement District, Orange, and Osceola Counties, and the CFTOD.

Any legal or ethical violations should be referred to the appropriate authorities. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Last week, Christina Pushaw, of DeSantis’ rapid response team said "Governor DeSantis’ new board would not, and will not, allow Disney to give THEMSELVES unprecedented power over land (some of which isn’t even theirs!) for 30+ years"

And we have seen the office of state Attorney General Ashley Moody swing into action, making an official request for the procurement of all pertinent records, emails, text messages, and other correspondences relevant to negotiations between the now-defunct Reedy Creek Improvement District and Disney.

Florida Attorney General weighs in, requests records on deal made between Disney & Reedy Creek


On February. 8, 2023, as the Florida House was passing legislation to give DeSantis his new power, Reedy Creek’s board members signed a development agreement with Disney that allowed the company maximum developmental power over its territory for the next 30 years.

According to the new board members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight board, and their attorneys, Disney is allowed the maximum possible density and building heights inside Walt Disney World.

Other property owners will need Disney’s permission to expand within the district, and they and Reedy Creek leaders will need to seek Disney’s approval if they made any aesthetic changes to their properties within the district.

The district is also not allowed to permit advertisements of any companies that compete with ones that operate within Reedy Creek, board members said. “We lose control over everything other than to maintain the roads and maintain the infrastructure,” one board member said.

It appears that board members only discovered the agreement after their appointments!

Both they and their newly appointed attorneys called the agreement null and void.

Particular focus was paid to one section that board members said locked in development rights of a particular parcel until 21 years after the death of the youngest current descendant of King Charles, or until Disney abandons the resort.

Board members have hired multiple politically-connected law firms to represent them and analyze the agreement, and discussed bringing on as many as four different firms to battle the mighty Disney corporation as they desperately attempt to nullify the agreement.

The new board are claiming that they will take the case to the United States Supreme Court if necessary, although backtracking on this, some board members said they hoped Disney executives and attorneys would be willing to reach a compromise before any legal action was taken...

Disney then issued the following statement:

“All agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law.”

With both sides appearing to be gearing up for a legal battle. It’s unclear what further actions the DeSantis administration might take in response to Disney’s one-upmanship, but it's very clear that Gov DeSantis is not a happy man right now!

Disney V Florida Gov. Desantis

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