REPORT: Disney Secretly Conducted A Legal Maneuver To Undermine DeSantis’ Legislation, Protect Special Benefits

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

James Lynch Contributor
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The Reedy Creek Improvement District, designed to grant Disney self-governing status and special privileges, reportedly signed last-minute agreements with the company before it was abolished by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis signed legislation on Feb. 27 to replace the Reedy Creek district with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board, which ended Disney’s self-governing status and revoked various regulatory exemptions. (RELATED: Disney World Hosting Gay Rights Summit Following Clash With DeSantis)

Ahead of the highly anticipated legislation, Disney and the Reedy Creek district reportedly signed agreements on Feb. 8 to give Disney the district’s development rights and privileges, according to local outlet WKMG. The legislation passed Florida’s Republican-controlled House on the day the agreements were signed.

The agreements have a clause deeming them effective until 21 years after the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III of England passes away, the outlet noted. Members of the Reedy Creek board spent little time discussing the agreement before approving it, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

“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 said in a statement, WKMG reported.

Special counsel hired by the newly created board discovered the agreements and could wage a legal challenge against the agreements, the outlet noted. The agreements prevent the new board from making changes without Disney’s approval, effectively undermining its governing abilities. Disney was also given approval to build more theme parks under the agreement.

“An initial review suggests these agreements may have significant legal infirmities that would render the contracts void as a matter of law,” DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske said in a statement, WKMG reported. “We are pleased the new governor-appointed board retained multiple financial and legal firms to conduct audits and investigate Disney’s past behavior.”