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The Deeper People Dig, the Worse Things Look For DeSantis’ Disney Board Administrator

Gilzean facing calls to resign from Disney Board
Credit: National Urban League

It did not seem like a big deal when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Glen Gilzean would be named the Administrator of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District in early May. Governor DeSantis had previously tapped Gilzean for several state positions, including Chairman of the Florida Ethics Commission. But in an oddly ironic twist, it turns out the Chairman of the Ethics Commission may have committed an ethics violation. 

Glen Gilzean Ron DeSantis

Credit: Central Florida Urban League

But as the Orlando Sentinel digs deeper into this controversy, it turns out there may be more to it than just an ethics violation. Now the paper is calling for Gilzean to resign and for a special investigation into how he got the job in the first place. The paper also calls into question the legality of everything that Gilzean has done as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District administrator.

According to the Sentinel, Gov Ron DeSantis faced ethics complaints from Nikki Fried and MAGA, Inc, a political committee associated with former president Donald Trump. The complaints alleged that DeSantis “solicited and accepted many gifts premised on the understanding that he will run for President.” On April 29, 2023, the Florida Ethics Committee dismissed the charges against DeSantis as “speculative.”

Glen Gilzean Disney Diversity

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

That in and of itself doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, especially considering that Gov DeSantis appointed most of the people sitting on the Ethics Board. However, a few days later, DeSantis named Gilzean the Administrator of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, a job with a $400,000 salary.

The Sentinel is looking for an independent investigation into hiring Gilzean and dismissing the charges against DeSantis. Gilzean has already violated the rules of the Ethics Committee by accepting a public sector job. The Committee does not allow its members to hold any public employment job.

As Administrator of the Board overseeing Walt Disney World, Gilzean has eliminated all diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and race-based hiring in the former Reedy Creek District. But the Sentinel claims that the DeSantis ally may have violated Florida Law and is calling into question the legality of those rulings.

Walt Dreamer Statue

Walt Disney Dreamer Statue. Credit: Disney

Last week, the Walt Disney Company sued the CFTOD in state court, seeking damages for allegedly violating the Florida State Constitution and for breach of contract.

Neither Floridas Ethics Commission nor Governor DeSantis has responded to requests for comment. However, when the news broke, several ethics lawyers called for Gilzean to resign from both positions, at the very least.

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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