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Chairman of DeSantis’ Disney Board Says Company Still Has Too Much Power in District

Martin Garcia Disney Sway

For just about six months, Walt Disney World Resort has been under the governing control of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. The district used to be known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which was essentially made up of people appointed by Disney. That board was disbanded when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Republican-led state legislature stripped Disney of its right to self-govern. The former Reedy Creek District is now run by a board hand-picked by the Governor.

Reedy Creek Improvement District

Credit: Reedy Creek

Things between Disney and the new board got off to a very rocky start, and things haven’t really improved in six months. Before the Reedy Creek board was disbanded, it made a deal with Disney, giving the company the ultimate say over what happened in the area until 28 years after the death of the youngest living descendant of King Charles. The new board filed a lawsuit against Disney because of the deals, and the Governor then passed a law, voiding any deals the former Reedy Creek board had made.

Disney World not as empty as reports say

Credit: patchrick84, Flickr

Despite the fact that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Committee now controls the area, chairman Martin Garcia still thinks that Disney has too much “sway” in the area. Garcia recently wrote a Letter to the Editor at the¬†Orlando Sentinel, claiming the company is influencing city council members.

Garcia’s complete letter is below:

Last week, the new board of the¬†Central Florida Tourism Oversight District¬†proposed providing economic relief to residents by cutting property tax rates ‚ÄĒ an action that would have been possible because of the elimination of government waste and abuse. The following day, however, the city councils of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista surprisingly voted to raise property tax rates in order to continue paying the bills for security services used by Disney. The CFTOD board remains convinced that a multibillion-dollar corporation is more than able to cover this cost.

This peculiar, though not wholly unexpected, development makes it that much more apparent why the new CFTOD board is essential as an independent and honest broker. Until the new board was appointed, Disney enjoyed undue influence over many businesses in the district. It further unduly influences city council members, who rent their homes from Disney.

The CFTOD board recognizes that it is up against a corporate behemoth. But it will not be deterred from serving as a champion for all constituents in the district by finally bringing independence, fairness and transparency to the district.

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District

Credit: CFTOD

Disney had asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the CFTOD. Disney claimed that the lawsuit was now moot since there were now state laws voiding deals made between Disney and Reedy Creek. However, the judge denied Disney’s motion. Despite the new laws, the judge decided that the board’s case had merit and should be heard.

The CFTOD board has also been making some big moves in recent days. They were able to come to an agreement with Reedy Creek firefighters and paramedics, something the Reedy Creek board had been unable to do for nearly four years. The board also abolished Disney’s diversity, equity, and inclusion program. However, the legality behind that move is in question.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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