Disney has submitted counterclaims against the board of supervisors selected by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to manage the special tax district of Walt Disney World.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may claim he’s moved on from his feud with Disney, but the company is continuing to press the issue. Disney has countered by filing claims against the board chosen by DeSantis to oversee Walt Disney World’s tax district.
They are seeking damages for breach of contract and asking for compliance with development contracts that are central to the ongoing legal dispute. In response to the district board’s allegations, Disney has filed a 55-page document denying the claims and presenting 12 defenses, one of which questions the board’s standing. Disney is also involved in a federal lawsuit against DeSantis and his board members, alleging political retaliation related to a controversial classroom bill called “Don’t Say Gay.”
DeSantis and his supporters have targeted the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special tax district governing Florida’s Walt Disney World since the 1960s. The governor has taken control, changing its name to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) and replacing its board with his own choices.
Disney had established development agreements to protect its investments in response to growing tensions with the state government. The new board accused Disney of covertly passing these contracts to undermine its authority, leading them to nullify the deals. Disney responded with a lawsuit.
Shortly after, the DeSantis board countered with its own lawsuit, arguing that Disney lacked the authority for these contracts and that proper notice wasn’t given during their creation.
Recently, the board sought a favorable ruling from a judge on five out of nine counts against Disney in the state case.This complex legal battle is ongoing in both state and federal courts. Disney’s attempt to dismiss the state-level case was unsuccessful, while DeSantis and the CFTOD board await rulings on their efforts to dismiss the federal case.
DeSantis, who’s vying for the Republican presidential primary against former President Donald Trump, has indicated his desire to bring this conflict to a close.