CFTOD calls the Disney and Reedy Creek relationship 'one of the greatest examples of corporate cronyism in modern American history'

19 days ago in "Reedy Creek Improvement District"

Posted: Wednesday September 13, 2023 6:06pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Speaking at the conclusion of today's Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, board chairman Martin Garcia spoke about the recent developments in one of the lawsuits between the district and the Walt Disney Company.

Garcia said the Walt Disney Corporation withdrew parts of its lawsuit against the Central Florida tourism oversight district in federal court last week. According to Garcia, this move by Disney is viewed as significant in the legal realm, as it suggests an acknowledgment by the corporation that its claims might have been unfounded.

He continued, "federal charges against this board were bogus and more over that the filing of them constituted a publicity stunt, not to mention a repugnant one."

In closing, Garcia said, "The Reedy Creek improvement district could have been described as a quote, public-private partnership close quote. In reality, in terms of scope and scale, it became one of the greatest examples of corporate cronyism in modern American history."

Here is a full transcript of Garcia's comments.

The Walt Disney Corporation eliminated components of its own litigation against the Central Florida tourism oversight district in federal court. Those who have not been following this matter could be could be forgiven for not immediately grasping the import of Disney's action. But that action in the legal world constitutes, if not an earthquake, at least a major tremor. This was indeed an extraordinary concession on the part of Disney Disney backtrack, effectively conceding, conceding that it never should have filed the for federal positive action against this board in federal court. To be clear, and I want to be clear on this because I've spoken to this before.

The dispute between Disney and the board only involves contracts, contracts that the corporation Disney entered into with our predecessor, the Reedy Creek improvement district, as such, it has nothing to do with the dispute between Disney and governor Governor DeSantis over legislation. Disney knew full well that these are two independent matters, but having suddenly found itself on its heels this past spring, it desperately desired a national form to lash out and turn and drag this board in the federal court in Tallahassee. That decision was not only an insult to the people of Florida, but also to the taxpayers of this district, who are incurring the legal costs of that unnecessary battle. In retrospect, Disney's retraction has proven a mockery of the legal system. It is a noteworthy event when lawyers voluntarily dismissed causes of action against defendants, which is what Disney did with respect to this board last week. In doing so, Disney has all been admitted. It knew that the federal charges against his board were bogus and more over that the filing of them constituted a publicity stunt, not to mention a repugnant one that took place at the expense of both the integrity of the legal system and of the economic interest of the taxpayers in this district. This board is also fully confident when all is said and done. The 11th hour agreements will fall by the same way side is their dismissed federal compliance.

It's worth quickly reminding the public how we arrived at this point. Disney exploited the generosity of the people of Florida over the years through the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act. What worked in the early years to spark economic development in Central Florida later proved to be an urban planning quagmire. With horrific governance practices.

A light was finally shined on the problem and Disney got caught. Disney used the 1967 act to establish footing in Central Florida to minimize if not eliminate all hurdles in its campaign to mow the district to serve the best interests of Disney Disney at the expense of the public. Good all along the way and seize control of the local government through a variety of unsavory means, politely and I say politely. The Reedy Creek improvement district could have been described as a quote, public private partnership close quote. In reality, in terms of scope and scale, it became one of the greatest examples of corporate cronyism in modern American history.

After the establishment of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District in April, this board has acted swiftly and effectively to make sure that the operations of the district are promoting the public good. One of our focuses has been to institute transparency and appropriate governance practices, which were sorely lacking in the governance of this district. By the old Reedy Creek board for more than half a century. We as a board are tremendously proud of what we have accomplished in a short period of time. And we are eager to continue our work on behalf of residents, employees, tourists, and all of our constituents to function as an independent government.

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Stripes8 hours ago

Yeah, just go to Civil Case search and look up “Walt Disney Parks and Resorts” under Business Name. The case is on the second page of cases.

Isamar8 hours ago

The response IMO just oozes belligerent big-money lawyers who are used to bullying less powerful litigants into submission, which obviously isn’t going to happen here. Unfortunately, some of the arrogance may come from knowing that Desantis has appointed so many of Florida’s judges, especially appellate judges. (And of course the board members and their lawyers are very well-connected.) Some of the Disney requests they cited are interesting - I’ll grab some screenshots when I have some time later. BTW, someone has probably already posted this but for anyone catching up: the case docket, with the publicly-filed documents, is on the Orange County Clerk’s website. I’ll try to post a link to the docket but it will probably only take you to their search page, because they have a particularly annoying recaptcha. Link to the docket? (but probably the search page):

mikejs789 hours ago

It's been reported that the price was the same that is offered to all third party businesses operating within WDW. So for example, Sheraton had access to the same deal.

JoeCamel9 hours ago

You throw up a lot of flack to get your target through. Let's see if Disney gets what they really want when this all shakes out. Like charging multiple crimes in a criminal case you expect some to get tossed

GrumpyFan10 hours ago

For political appointees doing the governor's dirty work, they sure do think awfully highly of their positions. Do they really think that because the governor appointed them as his minions to rule over Disney that they are above the law? This just gets funnier with each salvo. Also, sounds like they've got something to hide and makes me really curious what will be exposed! LOL

Stripes10 hours ago

monothingie10 hours ago

I would assume so. I would also assume that the price RCID paid was not unique to RCID and was inline with similar offerings sold to other entities.

lazyboy97o10 hours ago

It is publicly available to all operating participants.

monothingie10 hours ago

Which should have been at publicly available pricing.

peter1143510 hours ago

That would open up some legal issues. Public employees accepting gifts….

yensid196711 hours ago

OK that makes sense! BUT you would think Disney would still offer it to them since they were grandfathered in and skip the district! Firefighters get an Annual Pass for keeping Disney World a safe place free of fire! but I guess the district would have a problem with that too!?

lazyboy97o11 hours ago

It’s a benefit sold by Disney that the District and other operating participants purchase.

yensid196711 hours ago

OK, I think I know where I misspoke...I was asking how the CFOD can take away Firefighters Annual Pass benefits. I understand that the firefighters work for the District, but how can the district take away a benefit that is offered by Disney? I might be missing something, but its OK...I'm old! LOL

MisterPenguin1 day ago