LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA — Today, the board of supervisors at the newly created Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) shot back at Disney’s recent federal lawsuit by authorizing its legal team to represent its five board members who were named in the lawsuit along with Governor Ron DeSantis.
“In essence, Disney is asking a federal court in Tallahassee to wrestle back the hands of time to 1967, while this board is instead charged legislatively with bringing the district into the 21st century with new and better policies and practices,” said CFTOD Chairman Martin Garcia.
Garcia outlined board actions since taking over the district, including hiring new staff, negotiating fair employment agreements with the local fire department and bringing financial transparency and accountability to the district. He also made it clear that the board did not enact the laws which Disney is disputing.
The board intends to move forward with day-to-day district business and follow the law enacted by the legislature and signed by the governor. In the special meeting, the board unanimously approved a counter-suit that will be filed in state court on Monday and paid for by Disney themselves through taxation by the district.
“This district will seek justice in state court here in Central Florida where both it and Disney reside and do business,” Garcia said. “We’ll seek justice in our own backyard.”
District board member Ron Peri addressed recent media reports attacking the “political nature” of the board, saying board members are focused on what’s best for the district and are not political individuals trying to force an agenda from the governor.
“The reality is that there did need to be a change,” Peri said. “People may not be happy by the way it came about. They may have political views that convinced them that it shouldn’t have come about."