DeSantis v. Disney: Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board chairman resigns

Florida's governor appointed Martin Garcia to control the former Walt Disney World district a year ago.

The battle between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Walt Disney Corporation continues, with an unexpected move by the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. The agency, which emerged to replace the former Disney-controlled district, lost its board chairman, as Martin Garcia, appointed by DeSantis to the post a year ago, decided to step down for reasons he declined to disclose to the public.

Despite his resignation, the DeSantis team and the Florida governor himself thanked Garcia for all the work he has done over the past year.

In an email obtained by the AP, DeSantis' Communications Director Bryan Griffin thanked the now former chairman for "successfully navigating" the transition of the district from being controlled by Walt Disney World to now being overseen by the state of Florida. In doing so, Garcia "developed a new district focused on transparency and the elimination of corporate welfare."

Glen Gilzean also leaving the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District

Garcia’s resignation comes a week after District Administrator Glen Gilzean also resigned from his post after accepting a new position DeSantis offered him as interim elections supervisor in Orange County.

However, Gilzean's resignation will not stop DeSantis’ continued fight against Disney and, with his case going to trial on July 25. The Republican governor already has in mind the person who will replace Gilzean and take over as chairman of the Florida Tourism Oversight District: his former top aide, Stephanie Kopelousos. This was explained by Bryan Griffin in statements to the AP:

We are glad to see her step into this leadership role as the District embarks upon the next chapter in its efforts to ensure an even and transparent playing field for the businesses that operate in Central Florida.