Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has announced the names of the new board members who will oversee Disney’s former special tax district.
Since 1967, the district was known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, but earlier this year, during a special session on February 6, Florida lawmakers voted to rename the district–instead of dissolving it, as they had previously decided–and to give Gov. Ron DeSantis exclusive control in appointing the district’s board members. The new entity, now referred to as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, effectively takes away control of the 40 square miles of land situated across Orange County and Osceola County in Florida.
Before the change, the Reedy Creek district was independent from Disney. However, Disney still held much of the power over the district’s board, as Disney had most of the say in who served on that board.
On Monday, however, Governor DeSantis announced the names of the five new board members he has chosen to oversee the district that’s been in Disney’s proverbial back pocket since 1967.
BREAKING: @GovRonDeSantis Reveals New Board Members as Disney Loses Control of Reedy Creek Districthttps://t.co/q6dDh1ldRN
— The Florida Standard (@theflstandard) February 27, 2023
The new board members are Bridget Ziegler, Brian Aungst, Jr., Mike Sasso, Martin Garcia, and Ron Peri.
Ziegler is a mother of three and a member of the Sarasota County School Board and helped to draft the Parents Bill of Rights with Rep. Erin Grall. Aungst is an attorney and recently served as the chairman of the Pinellas County Commission Redistricting Committee. Sasso is also an attorney with a practice that focuses on “high-stakes litigation” in both the state and federal courts in the Sunshine State.
Martin Garcia is an attorney who has also owned and operated a private equity firm. He also served as the chairman of his family’s charitable foundation. Ron Peri was the founder and CEO of the Orlando, Florida-based airline software entity, Radixx International for 24 years, beginning in 1993. He is currently the chairman and CEO of The Gathering USA, a ministry that encourages men to be actively involved in their faith communities as well as the communities in which they live.
On Monday morning, Governor DeSantis said that the new board members will take over the special district, effective immediately.