Back on August 18th, we reported that Disney had filed a countersuit in state-level court against the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, claiming a breach of contract and constitutional violations. As a reminder, Disney is actually the defendant in the case, but the countersuit comes as they shift their strategy in the federal-level case against DeSanits, and go on offense locally.
Now, the CFTOD plaintiffs in the state-level case have filed a Motion to Dismiss the countersuit by Disney. We’ll try to keep this as high-level as possible, but you can read the full documents at the end of this article.
Essentially, in this new Motion to Dismiss, filed September 6th in Orange County, FL, the CFTOD plaintiffs argue that Disney’s counterclaims rely on a disputed fact that the Development Agreement and Restrictive Covenants (“Agreements”) are valid and enforceable. Disney argues that the Agreements are valid and builds its counterclaims on that presumption.
The contracts were entered into by the former Reedy Creek Improvement District Board of Supervisors, but the Agreements were made between the same District that existed prior to the Governor’s takeover and after. Because the Governor and his rubber-stamp Legislature did not dissolve the District, the contracts remained in place.
In fact, the District Charter that was drawn up by the Legislature says that the provisions of the establishing act “shall not affect existing contracts that the district entered into prior to the effective date of this act”.
However, the CFTOD alleges a series of infirmities that render the Agreements null and void, in their opinion. The state-level case was opened back in May because the CFTOD plaintiffs were asking a judge to rule that the Agreements were null and void.
In the CFTOD plaintiff’s view, the Agreements are null and void, so Disney’s latest countersuit should be dismissed because it relies on the Agreements.
In another document filed yesterday, the CFTOD asserts that “Disney has unclean hands”, saying that Disney’s “absolute control” over the RCID has been the cause of the Agreements’ invalidity. In nearly every reply to the affirmative defense, the CFTOD alleges that Disney has “unclean hands” and should’ve known that the Agreements were “fatally defective”.
In one reply, the District argues that “the District was not independent of Disney’s control and thus could not have waived its opportunity to object and challenge the Agreements”.
Where this whole thing gets messy, in this writer’s opinion, is that the Legislature and Governor did not fully dissolve the RCID. Instead, they renamed the District and the Governor placed his own lieutenants on the Board to do his bidding. Without a clean break from the contracts and dealings of the past, the new Board is forced to find a way out of contracts that are legally binding and entered into by the same entity that exists today.
Here are the documents that were filed recently:
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!