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DeSantis Delivers Knock-Out Punch to Disney Over “Arrogance”

The Florida Legislature will nullify Disney’s secret contracts to evade the law, the governor said.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA — Today, in a knock-out punch, Governor DeSantis announced the Florida legislature will use its power to nullify the “unlawful” secret development agreement Disney shoved through just before the new board took over.

“We want to make sure that Disney lives under the same laws as everybody else,’’ DeSantis said, speaking at the former Disney-controlled district headquarters near Orlando.


Joined by Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson, members of the Legislature and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) Board, the governor said the agreements “are riddled with legal deficiencies.” The contracts, according to DeSantis, are a blatant attempt by a private corporation to subvert the will of Floridians through shady tactics.

Proposed legislation expected to be filed within days would prevent compliance with what the governor called “poison pill” agreements like the one executed by Disney and the prior Disney-controlled board.


DeSantis says the Disney issue was front and center during the election and he had more votes in Central Florida than any Republican in modern history. The governor cited Section 163.3241, Florida Statutes (F.S.), which requires revocation of a development agreement if the Legislature subsequently enacts legislation that precludes compliance with the agreement.

“Disney’s corporate kingdom is over – despite their repeated and futile attempts to circumvent the Legislature and the will of the people,” said DeSantis. “Their cheerleaders in the media thought that Disney ‘outsmarted’ the state, but the new control board uncovered their sloppy scheme, and the agreements will be nullified by new legislation that I intend to execute.”

DeSantis went on to say that Disney will have to operate on a level playing field with every other business in Florida, despite kicking and screaming. According to the governor, the CFTOD board will also implement additional actions to detach the board from the “unlawful” agreements this Wednesday at their scheduled board meeting.


In a recent interview with Time, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger said he would be happy to meet with DeSantis to discuss the future of the district. “I do not view this as a going-to-mattresses situation for us. If the governor of Florida wants to meet with me to discuss all of this, of course, I would be glad to do that,” he said.

DeSantis responded on morning radio by saying that Disney has to come to terms with the fact that moving forward, it will no longer be able to govern itself.

“You're gonna live under the same laws as everyone else,” Desantis said. “You're gonna pay your fair share of taxes and you're gonna pay off these debts.”