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DeSantis Board Sicks Florida Inspector General on Disney

DeSantis Board makes referral to Florida Inspector General to Disney
Credit: Disney

Less than a week after the Walt Disney Company countersued the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District in State Court, the Board handpicked by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has sent a referral to the Florida Inspector General, requesting his office looks into more than $2 million authorized by the Reedy Creek Improvement District for employee benefits at Walt Disney World.

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District

Credit: CFTOD

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District accuses the Reedy Creek Improvement District of “funneling millions of taxpayer dollars” in a “scheme” using season passes. According to its press release, the CFTOD received a bill for $2.5 million for 2022 alone.

The Board said in the Press Release:

In addition to constituting unethical benefits and perks, the scheme raises significant questions regarding self-dealing as the board members were only permitted a maximum of $100 per month in compensation per the Reedy Creek Improvement District Act.

Glen Gilzean Disney Diversity

Glen Gilzean, Ron DeSantis, and Bob Iger in front of Cinderella Castle

The CFTOD says that the Reedy Creek Improvement District used taxpayer dollars to fund discounted tickets, merchandise, and food at Disney World and discounts on Disney Cruises and water parks. Board Members were also granted a special VIP entrance at the Disney World Parks. The Board also paid for Disney’s Yacht Club, Caribbean Beach Resort, and Coronado Springs rooms.

It is unclear what agreements Disney had with the Reedy Creek Board that would allow them to receive discounts at Walt Disney Parks, however, Once the DeSantis Board learned of these perks that the previous members received, they eliminated them.

However, in an email to employees, rather than eliminating the program, the CFTOD is giving them an annual $1,000 stipend. In the email, the Board says that the employees can use that money for Annual Passes or “however they see fit.” So rather than direct the money directly to Disney, the CFTOD is giving employees “taxpayer dollars” to spend at the Parks or anywhere else they choose.

The New Board finds itself in an ethical dilemma this week, as Administrator Glen Gilzean holds both his job with the Board and the Florida Ethics Commission. It is an ethical violation for a member to have a public section job. Gilzean receives $400,000 for his job with CFTOD.

The Orlando Sentinel reported today that Gilzean was appointed to his new position just days after an ethics complaint against Gov Ron DeSantis was dismissed. 

Mickey Mouse and Ron DeSantis

Credit: Disney/ Flickr

While the Walt Disney Company is the largest taxpayer in the District, there are also other businesses that the new Board had jurisdiction over. Earlier this month, the Board banned all diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and race-based hiring within the District. 

We will continue to update this story at Disney Fanatic.

 

 

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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