DeSantis Board Swings For the Fences To Crush Disney’s Lawsuit

DeSantis, Iger, and Cinderella's Castle
Credit: Disney/Gage Skidmore,Flickr/Canva

It’s been another eventful week in the ongoing saga of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Walt Disney Company. After Governor DeSantis suffered several legal losses, the Walt Disney Company started to show how it planned to prosecute its case against the governor and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. The Washington Post reports that attornies representing Disney want to question former District administrator John Classe and seek documents used to adopt the contracts, documents that support the District’s authority to enter the contracts, and information about how the agreements were publicized.

Ron DeSantis and Mickey Mouse

Credit: Gage Skidmore Flickr/Disney

Related: Disney’s Legal Strategy in the DeSantis Case: Go For the Jugular. 

The list of documents and the questioning of Classe show that Disney is planning to show the court that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District violated the Contract Clause of the Constitution when it was formed.

Classe was the administrator of the Reedy Creek Improvement District before it was dissolved. He was replaced by Glen Gilzean, who is the current CFTO administrator. Classe was in charge of the District when it signed over control over the construction and design of the Walt Disney World Resort to the company and when rules were passed that prohibited the District from using Disney’s likeness or intellectual property without the company’s permission.

Lawyers representing the CFTOD argue that the contract between Disney and the previous Board should be voided because they were not adequately publicized. It was a source of embarrassment for Florida Gov Ron DeSantis and his new Board that the Disney Company could accomplish this right under their noses without them noticing. Disney will use the documents and interview with Classe to show that the agreements are legally binding and were lawfully obtained by the company.

DeSantis welcomes Disney's surrender

Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Disney claims that Florida Gov Ron DeSantis retaliated against the company for speaking out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, known by its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Disney says that the formation of the new Board violated its contract with the state that established its special District more than 50 years ago and that the governor and the Florida Legislature violated its First Amendment Rights. Disney is seeking unspecific damages.

Walt Dreamer Statue

Walt Disney Dreamer Statue. Credit: Disney

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District also claims that because Disney has not shown specific damage done to Disney World, their claim for damages should also be thrown out.

While this Disney lawsuit will be heard in state court, Disney and DeSantis have a second lawsuit in Federal Court. The federal lawsuit deals with Disney’s free speech claim against the governor and Florida Lawmakers. The governor has asked the federal judge to dismiss Disney’s claims against him, arguing that the legislation gives him “absolute immunity.”

What is clear is that these cases are not going anywhere anytime soon. 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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