Florida Board Considers Legal Action Over Disney’s Limitation of Authority
The board overseeing Walt Disney World’s special taxation district in Florida is contemplating legal action after accusing the entertainment company of limiting its authority. In February, Florida lawmakers passed a bill granting Governor Ron DeSantis effective control of the board responsible for municipal services and development within the special district. However, before DeSantis’s appointees could take over, Disney changed the special tax district agreement, according to board lawyers. The changes effectively limit the board’s actions for decades, the board’s members said. DeSantis’s press office has yet to respond to the board’s allegations.
Board Members Criticize Disney’s “Eleventh Hour” Move
The board members are not happy with Disney’s actions, characterizing them as an “eleventh hour” act that renders them unable to do their jobs. One board member, Brian Aungst Jr., said the changes circumvent the board’s authority to govern. Disney, on the other hand, claims that all its agreements with the board were appropriate and discussed in open, public forums in accordance with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law.
Disney and DeSantis Clash over Gender and Sexual Orientation Law
Political observers believe that the conflict between Disney and DeSantis began last year after the former clashed with the governor over a law limiting classroom instruction on gender and sexual orientation. Bob Chapek, then-CEO of Disney, voiced disappointment with the measure and expressed concern about it becoming law. The comments were perceived as criticism of the Parental Rights in Education Act, and Florida lawmakers retaliated by passing legislation that curtailed Disney’s virtual autonomy in developing 25,000 acres in central Florida where its theme parks are located.