Ron DeSantis Takes Action Against Disney After “Last-Minute” Decision By Board

On Monday, in a letter, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis asked the state’s top inspector general to investigate a hastily negotiated contract between the Reedy Creek Improvement District and Walt Disney World. 

On February 8, the former board signed an agreement to transfer authority to the company, and on February 9, the Florida House approved a bill renaming the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and replacing Disney’s self-appointed board with a board appointed by the governor. 

According to an email from DeSantis’s office, all legislative options “are back on the table” in light of the Reedy Creek Improvement District’s recent decisions. The governor wrote to Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Gying that the deal was “intended to usurp the power of the CFTOD board. to DeSa statestis, these collusive and self-dealing agreements try to void the recently approved law, weaken Florida’s legislative process, and “violate the will of Floridians.” In addition, based on first observations of counsel, the RCID board’s actions seem to suffer from substantial “legal infirmities.” 

The governor has officially asked Miguel to inquire into the former board’s activities in conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. DeSantis said that the probe should look at RCID’s compliance with civil and criminal laws in Florida and ethical regulations.

It should also look into the legitimacy of the preceding Board of Supervisors’ acts and its qualifications concerning RCID. DeSantis feels an investigation should focus on whether Disney employees and agents were involved in RCID actions and if such acts resulted in financial advantage or profit for Walt Disney World.

A probe should analyze all communications between the RCID board, employees, or agents regarding RCID’s actions, including those with Walt Disney World employees and agents, as well as all communications between the RCID board, employees, or agents regarding House Bill 9-B, the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Orange and Osceola Counties, and the CFTOD.