Governor Ron DeSantis visits CFTOD to boast about dissolving Disney's Reedy Creek Improvement District

Feb 22, 2024 in "Reedy Creek Improvement District"

Posted: Thursday February 22, 2024 11:00am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Speaking at the headquarters of his Central Florida Tourism Oversight District near Disney Springs, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis dedicated an entire press conference to bragging about eliminating the Reedy Creek Improvement District and appointing his own hand-picked board of supervisors.

DeSantis listed many of the same justifications that he made a year ago when he signed the bill to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, including tax savings for small businesses in the district, state inspection of monorails, and what he describes as "positive government reform."

DeSantis said he "defied the pundits and the conventional wisdom of the narratives that people tried to spin and ultimately it's a result that you now have a local government here with this district that is functioning in ways that are much more transparent, much more accountable, and ultimately much more beneficial to the people who live and work in Central Florida. And so that is a win for not just the people in this region, but it's a win for the entire state of Florida."

Also speaking at the press conference was CFTOD Chairman Martin Garcia who said Reedy Creek Improvement District was "arguably the most egregious example of corporate cronyism in the history of modern America."

He described Disney as following "deplorable practices and policies," which he listed as including Disney hand-picking Reedy Creek board members and giving them free park passes and merchandise discounts.

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida dismissed the lawsuit Walt Disney Parks and Resorts filed against DeSantis and CFTOD. The lawsuit challenged legislative changes that stripped Disney of its control over the Reedy Creek Improvement District, now the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), alleging that these changes were retaliatory and violated Disney's First Amendment rights. The court ruled that Disney lacked standing to sue the Governor and the Secretary of Florida's Department of Commerce and dismissed Disney's claims against the CFTOD board members on the merits, stating that a facially constitutional statute cannot be challenged based on alleged unconstitutional motives of lawmakers.

In a statement released following the court case's dismissal, a Disney spokesperson told WDWMAGIC, "This is an important case with serious implications for the rule of law, and it will not end here. If left unchallenged, this would set a dangerous precedent and give license to states to weaponize their official powers to punish the expression of political viewpoints they disagree with. We are determined to press forward with our case."

DeSantis addressed Disney's lawsuit appeal and said today, "what would your relief be, you would get courts going to order that that the old district be restored? I mean, give me a break. That is not going to happen."

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flynnibus3 days ago

Looks to be moved

wdwmagic3 days ago

Amazing, there is actually some real business on the agenda for a change.

DCBaker3 days ago

The agenda outline for the next CFTOD meeting on Wednesday, April 24 is available at this link*: *Edited to update as the link was changed after posting (thanks @flynnibus!).

flyakite5 days ago

Batman'sParents8 days ago

Was curious about this: Is there an expectation that CFTOD will delegate some responsibilities to the cities as part of the understanding between the state and Disney?

Dcgc2810 days ago

All good! I was going to be blown away lol

MR.Dis11 days ago

error, I edited the original post

mkt11 days ago

Here's the motion

mkt11 days ago

what's the new case number? Disregard, found it. 24-10342-H

Dcgc2812 days ago

They objected the delay?

MR.Dis12 days ago

Federal Judge officially granted a 60 day delay on the Federal Case. Disney requested so a new developement agreement could be negotiated, the CFTOD did not object.

mmascari17 days ago

Same formality as completing the new agreement. They clearly think everyone will work in good faith and get an acceptable resolution. One where not having representation in the CFTOD board is ok.

flynnibus17 days ago

Sounds like walking away from the Federal case is only a matter of formality at this point... or the roof caving in. Those aren't the words of someone cautiously optimistic for an outcome... those are the words of someone who already knows the game plan and they aren't holdiing a gun to anyone.