Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is taking a tough stance against the Walt Disney Company’s alleged efforts to limit the state’s oversight of development at Disney World. The Republican governor asked for the investigation of Disney’s actions by Florida’s chief inspector general, Melinda Miguel, on Monday. Disney had been operating with self-governing privileges, essentially controlling development as if it were a county government. But DeSantis had tried to dissolve Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District and end the company’s self-governing privileges.
DeSantis Calls For Probe Into Disney World Special District https://t.co/5MBRVxZwP3
— US Burning (@UsBurning) April 3, 2023
DeSantis later changed course to avoid tax consequences for surrounding districts, and ultimately replaced the board governing Reedy Creek with a governor-controlled one. However, Disney passed a new development agreement in February, limiting the incoming board’s power and giving the company considerable power over future construction. DeSantis believes the board acted improperly, and the new agreements should be voided.
The agreements the prior RCID board attempted to shove through at the 11th hour are likely invalid. pic.twitter.com/ixeOwIFCZr
— The Florida Standard (@theflstandard) April 3, 2023
The issue partially stems from Disney’s opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill earlier this year, which bars classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation between kindergarten and third-grade. The company eventually pulled back from public advocacy on political issues to avoid further backlash in the state.
DeSantis accused the board of improper delegation of authority, conflicts of interest, and self-dealing in violation of the law in his letter. He called on Miguel to investigate Disney’s compliance with civil and criminal laws, the legality of the prior board’s actions, and any financial gains stemming from them. DeSantis did not appreciate Disney’s attempts to “nullify” the recently passed legislation, and he vowed to refer any legal or ethical violations to the proper authorities.
The move by Governor DeSantis is a bold and necessary step. It shows that he is not afraid to take on big corporations like Disney, who have flexed their muscle in Florida for far too long. Disney’s decision to limit the state’s oversight of its developments is just another example of the company’s disregard for Florida’s laws and residents. It’s refreshing to see Governor DeSantis stand up for Florida’s sovereignty and the well-being of its people. Disney must be held accountable for its actions, and Florida’s inspector general must lead the way in doing so. The people of Florida deserve nothing less.