(Liberty Bell) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, kicked the intensity level up a few notches in his battle with Disney when he issued an order for the state’s chief inspector general to investigate the former Reedy Creek Improvement District board after it entered into an agreement with Disney which undermined the state’s takeover of the district. It seems that when the Florida governor makes war on you, he really means war. One thing is for sure, DeSantis definitely gets things done.
In a piece published by the Washington Examiner, Jack Birle wrote, “The letter from DeSantis requests the investigation look for any ‘any legal or ethical violations’ by the board in relation to their conduct before the state takeover of the district. The investigation will focus on the district’s ‘adherence to applicable Florida civil and criminal laws and ethics requirements,’ the qualifications of the board members, the ‘involvement of Walt Disney World employees and agents’ in the actions of the district, and any financial gain or benefit derived by Walt Disney World’ as result of the work of the district.”
DeSantis’ office says that Disney is “again fighting to keep its special corporate benefits and dodge Florida law” but vows not to “let that happen.”
“The investigation comes days after state Attorney General Ashley Moody made a public records request to the Disney-appointed board members of the former Reedy Creek Improvement District,” Birle said in the article.
In the letter, Moody makes a request for texts, emails, and various other public records concerning “documents discussing an intention or goal of circumventing, avoiding, frustrating, mitigating, or otherwise attempting to avoid the effects of anticipated actions of the Florida Governor and Legislature.” The letter also issues a warning of potential civil and criminal penalties if these records are not turned over.
“The investigation by the Florida government comes after DeSantis and the governor-appointed board of the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District were dealt a major blow last week when it was discovered the previous board and Disney had come to an agreement that strips the new board of its power,” Birle continued.
The agreement was officially signed back on Feb. 8, however the deal doesn’t allow the board to make most changes without receiving permission from the Walt Disney Company.
“The accord also was made to not last for the foreseeable through the Magic Kingdom’s use of another monarch. The ‘King Charles clause’ ensures Disney has autonomy over the district, which includes the Walt Disney World Resort, until ’21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, King of England, living as of the date of this declaration,'” the report added.
The Florida governor’s office has asserted that this agreement is likely to be invalid and that all options are still on the table, which includes legislative action.
Disney CEO Bob Iger decided he’d rather go broke and be woke, attacking DeSantis by going after him at the company’s yearly shareholder’s meeting held on Monday, stating that it “seems really wrong” for the Florida Republican to go after the company for “exercising a constitutional right.” Iger was making a reference to Disney taking a stance publicly against the Parental Rights in Education Act last year, which was an action taken under the leadership of previous CEO Bob Chapek.
Iger went on to say that the company would be pouring $17 billion into the Florida resort over the course of the next decade and would be creating a total of 13,000 new jobs at the Walt Disney World Resort.
“Our point is, that any action that thwarts those efforts simply to retaliate against a position the company took sounds not only anti-business but anti-Florida,” Iger commented.
“Republican lawmakers in the Florida legislature are supportive of the governor’s vow not to back down when it comes to the Reedy Creek battle but are unsure of what they can do legislatively regarding the agreement,” Birle stated.
“In terms of legislatively, I don’t know, but I’m fully supportive of the governor taking action,” state GOP House Speaker Paul Renner noted concerning the issue. “I think what’s happened is disingenuous, to say the least. The way it happened is frankly a lack of candor in terms of how they noticed it and how they went about it. I think they acted in bad faith. I think that’s pretty simple.”
Disney, of course, has continued to stand firm on its actions, stating all agreements were done lawfully.
“All agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law,” Disney remarked in a statement delivered on Thursday to the Washington Examiner.
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