The war of words and legal maneuvering has ramped up between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney CEO Bob Iger. Bob Iger and his legal team have found a loophole that, for the time being, leaves DeSantis slightly behind the 8 ball.
Last week, DeSantis was informed that a series of agreements were signed between the outgoing Reedy Creek Improvement District board and Disney (previous to DeSantis’ dismantling of Reedy Creek and its board), which helped Disney retain a great deal of corporate power to plan and further develop the area.
This is just recent in a protracted war of words and actions, which even features a differing opinion on its origins. Florida Legislators say the dissolution of the sovereignty of the Reedy Creek special district was a long time coming, as the GOP has seen it as borderline nepotism for Disneyland to pay only property taxes to the state and, otherwise, do whatever it wants on Florida’s soil.
Outside of the GOP, the commonly held belief is that the only cause for DeSantis’ laser focus on Disney goes back to Bob Iger’s public condemnation of bill HB 1557, or the Parental Rights in Education bill, more colloquially known as the “Don’t say gay” bill. The bill prohibited classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity before the 4th grade.
Whatever the true origins are, shortly after Iger’s comments, DeSantis’ team went into full throttle, passing legislation to dissolve the special district’s autonomy; and replacing its Disney-allied board with a new Republican-filled board, known as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board.
In light of the newly discovered check on the Florida GOP by Iger and the outgoing board, DeSantis has ordered a state investigation into the agreements fettering DeSantis’ ambitions on control of Disney. In a letter to Florida’s chief inspector general, DeSantis said, of the recent stymie, “ These collusive and self-dealing arrangements aim to nullify the recently passed legislation, undercut Florida’s legislative process, and defy the will of Floridians.” He went on to speculate that there may be multiple serious “legal infirmities” in regard to Disney’s actions, including inadequate notice and ethical violations.