DeSantis orders investigation into Disney district’s final act

The Reedy Creek Improvement District board of directors gave governing authority to Disney prior to the district’s dismantling.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on April 3 requested Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel to launch a review and investigation into the final actions made by the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

In its final act, the district, which was replaced Feb. 27, by the state-controlled Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, entered into a 30-year agreement with Disney that essentially gives the company the development authority the RCID once held. 

The agreement strips any governing authority of the new state-run board outside of roads and basic infrastructure, CFTOD board member Ron Peri said. 

“I cannot tell you the level of my disappointment in Disney; I thought so much better of them,” he said. “This essentially makes Disney the government.”

DeSantis, in his request to Miguel, maintains this last-minute maneuvering appears to “suffer from serious legal infirmities, including, among other things, inadequate notice, lack of consideration, improper delegation of authority and ethical violations, such as conflicts of interest and self-dealing.”

“These collusive and self-dealing arrangements aim to nullify the recently passed legislation, undercut Florida's legislative process and defy the will of Floridians,” DeSantis wrote to Miguel. “Therefore … I formally request that you … in consultation with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, launch a thorough review and investigation into the actions of the RCID board of supervisors.”

The investigation will include a review into:

• RCID’s adherence to applicable Florida civil and criminal laws and ethics requirements;

• the qualifications of RCID’s prior board of supervisors and the legal validity of their actions;

• the involvement of Walt Disney World employees and agents in the execution of RCID’s actions;

• any financial gain or benefit derived by Walt Disney World as a result of RCID’s actions and RCID’s justification for such actions;

• all RCID board, employee or agent communications related to RCID’s actions, including those with Walt Disney World employees and agents; and

• all RCID board, employee or agent communications related to House Bill 9-B, Reedy Creek Improvement District, Orange, and Osceola Counties, and the CFTOD.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said this week DeSantis’ actions are a retaliation for the position the company took regarding the Parental Rights in Education Act, which DeSantis signed March 28, 2022. 

“Any action that thwarts those efforts simply to retaliate for a position the company took sounds not just anti-business, but it sounds anti-Florida,” Iger said.

During a shareholders meeting earlier this week, Iger said Disney plans to invest $17 billion into its Florida properties, creating more than 13,000 jobs, over the next 10 years.



Michael Eng

As a child, Editor and Publisher Michael Eng collected front pages of the Kansas City Star during Operation Desert Storm, so it was a foregone conclusion that he would pursue a career in journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his wife and three children, or playing drums around town. He’s also a sucker for dad jokes.

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