DeSantis’ Oversight District to Discuss “Strategy and Settlement Negotiations” In Ongoing Lawsuits Against Disney

    According to a public notice, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board of Supervisors will meet on Wednesday, February 28th in a closed-door session to discuss the ongoing litigation between Disney and the District.

    The notice says that the closed-door session will be for the Board to meet with its lawyers to discuss “strategy and settlement negotiations related to litigation expenditures” in three of the ongoing lawsuits. The lawsuits listed include:

    • The federal lawsuit that is currently on appeal in the Eleventh Circuit regarding First Amendment retaliation by DeSantis with the CFTOD listed as a defendant
    • The state-level lawsuit brought by the District against Disney alleging improper contracts entered into between Disney and the former Reedy Creek Board of Supervisors
    • The state-level lawsuit brought by Disney against the District where Disney alleges violations of the Florida Public Records Act

    The persons in attendance at the closed-door meeting will be Board of Supervisor members, Chair – Martin Garcia, Vice-Chair – Charbel Barakat, Brian Aungst, Jr., Ron Peri, and Bridget Ziegler; District Administrator Glenton Gilzean; Acting General Counsel Daniel Langley and/or A. Kurt Ardaman; and litigation counsel Paul Huck.

    With the lawsuits set to be in court for years to come, the District has allocated more than $5 million for its fight with Disney this year. A budget presented by District Administrator Glen Gilzean back in August 2023 for the 2024 fiscal year revealed that the District was allocating $4.5 million for legal fees alone, and more than $500,000 for other fees and services related to the fight with Disney. That was more than double the budget in 2023.

    Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Budgets More Than $5 Million to Fight Disney Next Year
    The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District is budgeting more than $5 million next year to continue its fight with Walt Disney World

    Currently, one lawsuit sits in the court of appeals with no publicly announced timeline moving forward, another lawsuit is awaiting a ruling on a Motion to Compel Discovery, and a third lawsuit has set a summer deadline for a trial.

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