Disney sues Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over control of self-governing district

Disney Sues Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Over Control of Self-Governing District

The Walt Disney Company has filed a lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the control of a self-governing district in Florida. The lawsuit, filed in Orange County Circuit Court, alleges that DeSantis has overstepped his authority by interfering with the powers of the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), which governs the land that Disney World sits on.

The RCID was created in 1967 by the Florida Legislature to give Disney World and other landowners in the area more control over their property. The district has the power to levy taxes, issue bonds, and make land-use decisions without interference from the state or local governments.

However, Disney claims that DeSantis has violated the district’s autonomy by appointing new members to the RCID board without the company’s approval. The lawsuit also alleges that DeSantis has attempted to exert control over the district’s finances and operations, which is a violation of the district’s charter.

Disney argues that the RCID’s self-governing status is essential to the success of Disney World and the surrounding area. The company claims that interference from the state government could lead to higher taxes, decreased property values, and a loss of control over the district’s development.

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of disputes between Disney and the state of Florida. In 2020, Disney World sued Orange County over a tax dispute, and the company has also clashed with the state over issues such as property taxes and workers’ compensation.

The outcome of the lawsuit could have significant implications for the future of Disney World and the RCID. If Disney wins, it could solidify the district’s autonomy and prevent future interference from the state government. However, if DeSantis prevails, it could give the state more control over the district’s operations and finances.

Regardless of the outcome, the lawsuit highlights the complex relationship between Disney and the state of Florida. As one of the largest employers and economic drivers in the state, Disney has significant influence over the local economy and politics. However, the company’s desire for autonomy and control has put it at odds with state officials, who are tasked with ensuring the well-being of all Floridians.

In the end, the lawsuit may be resolved through negotiation or compromise. However, it is clear that the battle over the RCID’s autonomy is far from over, and the outcome could have far-reaching consequences for both Disney and the state of Florida.