The battle between Ron DeSantis and the Walt Disney Company continues. A month ago, Florida's Republican governor announced that "the corporate kingdom finally comes to an end." Disney has since been found to have taken back almost all of its powers from the DeSantis-appointed board.
It did so by passing a series of restrictive covenants that stripped the new board of many of its powers before the governor was able to sign the bill that stripped the entertainment giant's right to self-govern.
The current board of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District denounced at a meeting held Wednesday that its predecessors had signed a development agreement a month ago. Through this agreement, according to the AP, the board that ran the former Reedy Creek District transferred all of its powers to Disney. Taryn Fenske, spokeswoman for Gov. DeSantis' office, issued the following statement on the matter, picked up by WFTV9:
The Executive Office of the Governor is aware of Disney’s last-ditch efforts to execute contracts just before ratifying the new law that transfers rights and authorities from the former Reedy Creek Improvement District to Disney. An initial review suggests these agreements may have significant legal infirmities that would render the contracts void as a matter of law. We are pleased the new Governor-appointed board retained multiple financial and legal firms to conduct audits and investigate Disney’s past behavior.
Disney defends itself
The board members were quick to respond, assuring that they would take legal action in the face of Disney's attempt to take back power. In statements reported by Deadline, Brian Aungst Jr, a member of the Central Florida Board of Tourism Supervisors, said:
We’re going to have to deal with it and correct it. It’s a subversion of the will of the voters and the Legislature and the governor. It completely circumvents the authority of this board to govern.
Disney was quick to defend itself. The entertainment giant assured, in statements picked up by Fox News, that its actions were completely legal and that, moreover, they were done in a public manner:
All agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida Government in the Sunshine law.
The agreement is said to be in effect in perpetuity. However, the fine print of this agreement casts doubt on its legality, in which case the agreement is valid until "21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, king of England."