On May 10, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Comittee — formerly the Reedy Creek Improvement Board —, officially got a new administrator. Glen Gilzean, a close ally of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, started the job. He will make an astonishing $400,000 per year, which was nearly $100,000 more than the person who previously held the role. There is no end day in Gilzean’s contract. Before he was the administrator of the CFTOD, Gilzean was the chairman of Florida’s Commission on Ethics. He had been handpicked by the Governor.
While Gilzean may have been excited to begin this new job, he may not be as excited now. According to multiple sources, Disney has added Gilzean to their lawsuit against Governor DeSantis and the Oversight Committee. Immediately after Gilzean began his job, Disney replaced former administrator John Classe, the former Reedy Creek Administrator. The Oversight Committee has countersued Disney, and Disney has asked a judge to dismiss the countersuit.
The law states that Disney is allowed to add Gilzean to the lawsuit and remove Classe because they are suing the committee and its members in their official capacity.
This is not the first time that Disney has amended and expanded their lawsuit against DeSantis and the Committee. On May 8, Disney amended the lawsuit to include more statements made by the Governor. DeSantis has stated multiple times that he started going after Disney when the company, and then-CEO Bob Chapek, spoke out against the state’s Parental Rights in Education Bill. Disney is suing DeSantis, claiming that the Governor is punishing them for exercising their First Amendment Rights.
DeSantis, for his part, has acted largely unbothered by the Disney lawsuit. He has said that it is purely “political”. However, DeSantis recently filed a motion for the judge presiding over the case to recuse himself. DeSantis claimed that he is worried Chief Judge Mark E. Walker will not be able to maintain impartiality in the lawsuit.
In addition to the lawsuit against Disney and the committee, Disney CEO Bob Iger and Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro announced that the Imagineering Campus project in Lake Nona, Florida, had been canceled. The project was going to bring thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue to the Sunshine State. D’Amaro cited a changing business climate as the main reason for Disney pulling the massive project out of Florida.