Disney and Central Florida Tourism Oversight District propose a settlement agreement bringing lawsuits to an end

24 days ago in "Reedy Creek Improvement District"

Posted: Wednesday March 27, 2024 10:10am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

The board of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has announced that the Walt Disney Company and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District have proposed a settlement agreement that will potentially see both sides drop their respective lawsuits.

The critical points of the agreement from Disney's perspective are that the district commits to reviewing and potentially amending the 2020 Comprehensive Plan, with consultations involving Disney, and that the subsequent negotiations for the new development agreement are linked to Disney pursuing or halting its federal lawsuit against CFTOD and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

The highlights of the agreement as presented by CFTOD litigation counsel Paul Huck include:

  • The development agreement and restrictive covenants previously under lawsuit are to be considered null and void.
  • Disney will not challenge the district's view that certain comprehensive plans and land development regulations adopted in January of the previous year are invalid, recognizing the 2020 Comprehensive Plan as the current operative plan.
  • The district commits to reviewing and potentially amending the 2020 Comprehensive Plan, with consultations involving Disney and other relevant parties.
  • Both parties agree to dismiss with prejudice the claims and counterclaim in the ongoing state court lawsuit.
  • Disney will also dismiss with prejudice a separate state court litigation regarding public records and withdraw its pending public records request.
  • The labor services agreement between the district and the Reedy Creek energy services would be amended so that the term would expire in 2028 rather than 2032, and its automatic renewal provisions removed.
  • Disney asserts ownership of certain long-term mitigation credits, with the district agreeing not to interfere with their use. These credits stem from permits issued by multiple agencies, with Disney having funded their creation.
  • Concerning a federal court case Disney filed, which is currently on appeal, both parties will seek to defer briefing on the appeal while negotiating a new development agreement.
  • Both entities agree not to contest each other's actions prior to a specific date, with certain exceptions related to the content of the settlement agreement and potential defenses in the federal lawsuit.
  • Finally, the agreement includes mutual releases by both parties.

The agreement appears to be an abrupt change in direction from Disney, which, as recently as January, said, "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."

In a brief statement this morning, Walt Disney World President Jeff Valle said, "We are pleased to put an end to all litigation pending in state court in Florida between Disney and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. This agreement opens a new chapter of constructive engagement with the new leadership of the district and serves the interests of all parties by enabling significant continued investment and the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs and economic opportunity in the State."

Speaking at today's CFTOD board meeting, vice chair Charbel Barakat said, "We are eager to work with Disney. I'm certainly eager to work with Disney and all other businesses to make the country's tourism destination famous for a second reason, which is good government. I'd like to thank publicly thank the district's general counsel for their Herculean efforts on this front as well as our as well as our outside counsel."

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flynnibus3 days ago

Looks to be moved https://www.oversightdistrict.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/BOS-Meeting-04-24-24-Agenda-Outline.pdf

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*: https://www.oversightdistrict.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/BOS-Meeting-04-24-24-Agenda-Outline.pdf *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

Dcgc2811 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.