DeSantis-Appointed Disney Board Member Seeks Justification to Keep Position

Gilzean seeking legal opinion
Credit: National Urban League; Canva

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board Member Glen Gilzean really wants to have his cake and eat it too. After being called out for potentially violating a Florida Commission on Ethics bylaw, the administrator is seeking whatever justification he can to remain in his position without any consequences. While many have come to the conclusion that there is definitely a conflict of interest, this hasn’t stopped Gilzean from seeking legal opinion in the hopes of not having to resign.

DeSantis Disney board administrator ethics issue

Credit: National Urban League

A Tale of Two DeSantis-Appointed Roles

Earlier this week, it came out that Glen Gilzean disregarded a state law when accepting his position with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. The board member was hand-picked by Governor Ron DeSantis, receiving an obscene salary to help supervise Walt Disney World property. This comes after dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District the theme park had in place to oversee its property.

The law violation comes from Gilzean also serving as the Chairman of the Florida Commission on Ethics. A pesky bylaw that comes with this role states, “No member may hold any public employment.” The dilemma here is that his Disney board position is, in fact, a public employment role.

Bob Iger, Glenton Gilzean, Ron DeSantis in front of Cinderella Castle, Disney World

Credit: Disney; National Urban League

Glen Gilzean Seeking Legal Opinion

This leads us to the present. Many have called on Glen Gilzean to resign. However, the problematic board member has chosen to seek legal opinion in a bid to justify keeping his job and avoid a conflict of interest. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Gilzean is asking the ethics commission’s lawyers to analyze his options. He wrote an email to Steven Zuikowski, the commission’s general counsel:

Based on our conversations from a few months ago, I remained on the Commission on Ethics after starting employment with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. In an abundance of caution and in light of concerns that were raised today, will you please provide me a written legal opinion … I don’t want there to be any appearance of a conflict of interest.

National Urban League blasts removal of DEI at Disney

Glen Gilzean Credit: Urban League

It Doesn’t Look Good

No opinion has been reached yet by the ethics commission’s lawyers. However, several prominent people have already given their analysis. When the Florida Bulldog broke the story, Commissioner Jim Waldman blatantly stated that Gilzean role with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District “does appear to be a conflict under the rules of the commission.”

Michael Barfield, director of public access initiatives for the Florida Center for Government Accountability, agreed with this sentiment. He told the Orlando Sentinel: 

The legal requirements are there for a reason, and that is for transparency and to prevent conflicts of interest. You can’t be sitting in a watchdog capacity in the position of the ethics commission and at the same time be … subject to the authority of the ethics commission. That is an inherent conflict of interest.

Gilzean requested legal analysis to be provided by Wednesday evening. However, no opinion has been given yet. Under his employment agreement, Gilzean could be fired for violating the Florida code of ethics. He is also not the only one appointed to the Disney oversight board who has been called to answer for questionable decisions.

About Michael Stoyanoff

Michael is a Disney fan with an entertainment background and passion for writing. Living in Orlando, he has been around the theme parks for over a decade. In his free time he enjoys running, playing video games, and traveling the world. He also loves hanging out with his dog, Mr. Pippers the Pug.

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