Disney To Withdraw Federal Lawsuit Against DeSantis, Officials Following Deal: REPORT

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Max Keating Contributor
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Disney plans to withdraw its federal lawsuit against Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, following an agreement made Wednesday on the future development of the Walt Disney World theme park, according to The Associated Press (AP).

Disney’s lawsuit was dismissed in January, but was appealed and subsequently put on hold as part of a March settlement with DeSantis and his appointees, the outlet reported. Under the agreement, Disney will invest $17 billion into its Orlando Disney World property, according to The AP.

The company is further permitted to construct a new major theme park and an additional two minor parks on its resort property, as well as expansion of hotel, retail and restaurant space across the park, the outlet reported. As part of the arrangement, the district has reportedly committed to infrastructure development projects on Disney’s theme park property.

Disney will donate 100 acres of land for these projects, of which at least half must be carried out by Florida-based companies, according to the outlet.

The district sued Disney in a state court to void contracts former Disney-allied board members had signed which severely limited the board’s powers The AP reported. Disney filed counterclaims to this suit, but both cases were dismissed as part of the March settlement, the outlet noted. (RELATED: Federal Judge Dismisses Disney’s Lawsuit Against DeSantis)

The legal spat began when DeSantis took control of the district board and assigned his own appointees, according to The AP. The district board is responsible for municipal services in Disney’s Orlando theme park, and had been previously controlled by Disney supporters for several decades, The AP reported.

Disney subsequently filed a federal lawsuit claiming that DeSantis’ actions to control the board were politically motivated as a result of the company’s public opposition to Florida legislation restricting the discussion of gender identity and sexuality to young children, according to The AP.

In a February 2023 statement, DeSantis explained that his decision to revoke the self-governing status of the district was informed by the understanding that Florida government policy could not justify its unsustainable economic relationship with a company from another state.