In off-the-cuff comments yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said there’s zero chance that he backs down from his war on Disney. His comments came on the same day that his legal counsel attempted to convince the judge in his federal case with Disney to recuse himself. Here’s what DeSantis had to say about his fight with Disney:
…[Disney] can do whatever they want, I know people try to chirp and say this or that, but the chance of us backing down from that is zero.
The comments from DeSantis continue an escalation from the Governor against the largest single-site employer in the State of Florida, and undoubtedly feed the flames of uncertainty about future investment in Walt Disney World.
There are two high-profile lawsuits currently in the courts that take aim at a Development Agreement that Disney entered into with the previous Board of Supervisors of the then-named Reedy Creek Improvement District.
One lawsuit was filed by Disney World against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) Board of Supervisors, among others. The lawsuit asks the court to recognize the Development Agreement as valid and to recognize the series of events and bills that led to the State takeover of the Reedy Creek Improvement District as a violation of the First Amendment rights of the Company. Ultimately, Disney wants the State takeover of the RCID to be undone.
In a separate lawsuit, the CFTOD is seeing Disney World, asking the court to recognize the Development Agreement as null and void, citing a series of contract infirmities.
Legislation Might Over Legal Proceedings
On May 5th, DeSantis decided to get ahead of the pending court cases and simply sign a law to nullify the Development Agreement in what appears to be a flexing of executive might. Instead of relying on the court system to agree with the legal arguments of why the Development Agreement should be nullified, DeSantis signed SB 1604, a land use bill with a narrowly written amendment from Republican legislators to nullify the Development Agreement legislatively.
Following the stroke of the Governor’s pen, Disney World amended its lawsuit to include the bill in its argument against the state.
Disney Asks for Dismissal
Following Governor DeSantis actions to use the state legislature to nullify the Development Agreement instead of the courts, Disney asked the state to dismiss the CFTOD case, saying that the lawsuit in state court is moot given the actions of the Governor and rubber-stamp legislature.
The Hostile State of the Hostile State
As the saga with DeSantis continues to play out, Disney has announced that they are pulling the plug on a reported $1 billion investment in a sprawling new theme park headquarters in Lake Nona, Florida about 20 minutes from Walt Disney World. The campus would’ve served as the worldwide headquarters for the theme park division of the company, and it would’ve brought 2,000 six-figure jobs to the Central Florida area. Disney announced that it would not be moving forward with the project, with Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro citing “changing business conditions”.
Uncertainty of Future Florida Investment
Beyond the cancelation of the theme parks headquarters, D’Amaro and Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle echoed sentiments from Disney CEO Bob Iger about an uncertain future in Florida and a planned $17 billion investment in Walt Disney World over the next decade.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!