Disney Requests Court Dismissal of DeSantis Board Lawsuit Over Special Tax District in Ongoing Feud

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Disney Seeks Dismissal of Lawsuit by DeSantis Board

Disney has requested a Florida court to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the board of supervisors, which was handpicked by Governor Ron DeSantis to oversee Walt Disney World’s operations. The court filing argues that the lawsuit became irrelevant after DeSantis signed a bill that voided Disney’s development deals, which are at the center of the ongoing conflict between Disney and the governor. According to Disney, DeSantis essentially took the same action that the board is asking the court to take.

Disney’s Response and Spokesman’s Statement

Disney’s lawyers argue that the governor’s action renders any court order legally irrelevant, regardless of the outcome favoring either party. In response, a spokesperson for the special tax district overseen by the board stated that Disney’s motion to dismiss is predictable and acknowledges their anticipated loss in the case. This lawsuit is a state-level response to Disney’s federal civil case, in which the company accuses DeSantis and board members of engaging in political retribution against Disney.

The Disney-DeSantis Conflict

The conflict between Disney and Governor DeSantis began when Disney publicly criticized a controversial Florida bill, known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which limits discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms. As a result, DeSantis and his allies targeted Disney’s special tax district, leading to the replacement of its five-member board with DeSantis’ own picks. The district, previously known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, had allowed Disney to self-govern its Orlando parks’ operations for many years.

Implications for Disney and DeSantis

Disney’s expanded lawsuit alleges that DeSantis furthered his political vendetta by signing legislation to void Disney’s development deals in Orlando. If the court upholds the validity of Disney’s development deals, the new state statute would still prevent the board from complying with them. On the other hand, if the court sides with the board, the ruling would be pointless since the contracts would already be void under the new state statute. As DeSantis prepares for a potential presidential campaign, his conflict with Disney could have significant consequences if Disney’s motion to dismiss the board’s lawsuit is successful.

Source: ©Hendrik Osula/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images ; CNBC
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