LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA — Today, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) board, which now controls Disney’s former special district in Florida, voted to nullify the company’s “unlawful” agreements authored “at the 11th hour” to retain control of the district.
“What they created is an absolute legal mess,” Martin Garcia, CFTOD board chairman, said of Disney at the meeting.
Disney immediately retaliated by filing a lawsuit in federal court using attorney Daniel Petrocelli – who previously represented former President Trump in the 2016 class action fraud case against now-defunct Trump University.
Governor DeSantis is being sued in his official capacity along with the five-member board he appointed to oversee the special district. The entertainment behemoth claims “a targeted campaign of government retaliation.”
CLAIMS GOVERNMENT RETALIATION
The lawsuit accuses the governor of leading a “relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint.” The complaint also stated that Florida’s action “now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region and violates its constitutional rights.”
“We are unaware of any legal right that a company has to operate its own government or maintain special privileges not held by other businesses in the state,” said DeSantis’ communications director Taryn Fenske shortly after the news broke. “This lawsuit is yet another unfortunate example of their hope to undermine the will of the Florida voters and operate outside the bounds of the law.
The fight centers around a special taxation district, formerly the Reedy Creek Improvement District, created in 1967. In February, Florida lawmakers gave the governor the authority to appoint a new oversight board composed of individuals with no ties to Disney or any other theme park.