Disney Accused of Multi-Million Dollar “SCHEME” Using Taxpayer Money: Florida Inspector General Gets Involved After CFTOD Submits Referral

Reedy Creek
Credit: Reedy Creek

This is a shocking new twist in the long and tumultuous battle between the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and Walt Disney World Resort.

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, also known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, is a special district located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Established in the 1960s, it was specifically created to provide the necessary infrastructure and services for the development of Walt Disney World.

Earlier this year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis advocated for relinquishing a lot of Disney’s power over the district. While he has been somewhat successful with this mission, most of the disagreements between these two parties have played out like childish drama.

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Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr

CFTOD vs Walt Disney World Battle Takes New Turn

In the early evening of August 21, 2023, a shocking press release was made by Robert Donachie from ATHOS PR. In the announcement, Donachie elaborated on the “referral made to Inspector General regarding scheme to funnel millions of taxpayer dollars to Disney as season passes.”

He goes on to explain that the Central Florida Oversight District has discovered Disney has used taxpayer funds to provide employee bonuses in the form of annual passes to Walt Disney World Resort. The announcement explains;

“For decades, the former Disney-run RCID used taxpayer funds to provide season passes and amusement experiences to its employees and their family members, cover the costs of discounts on hotels, merchandise, food, and beverages, and give its own board members VIP Main Entrance passes. In 2022 alone, it cost taxpayers $2.5 million.

In addition to constituting unethical benefits and perks, the scheme raises significant questions regarding self-dealing as the board members were only permitted a maximum of $100 per month in compensation per the Reedy Creek Improvement District Act.”

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Credit: Disney

Donachie ends the letter by saying;

“Immediately upon discovering the scheme, the CFTOD set in motion plans to eliminate it. All CFTOD employees who require access to Disney premises to perform their official duties will still be able to access them”.

Shocking Announcement Takes a TWIST

However, that is not all. While the public was reacting to that press release, employees received an email stating that in place of the Annual Pass perk, employees would now be getting a $1,000 stipend. This is because “over the last five years, approximately 50% of employees never utilized this benefit at all. Given the low usage, a stipend is more beneficial to out team members.”

The email then goes on to say that while employees can use the stipend to buy an Annual Pass, it won’t be necessary,

While this change is necessarily a bad thing, many fans think it is ridiculous that Disney was accused of a tax “scheme” in this situation. Fans have reacted to the news on Twitter, calling out CFTOD for the discrepancies in the two announcements.

The public will be eagerly anticipating a comment from the Walt Disney Company as this drama unfolds.


About Eva Miller

Eva was born and raised in the beautiful state of Oregon but has since relocated and lives in New York City. Since she was young, Eva has loved to perform in musicals, especially Disney ones! Through performing, Disney’s music became the soundtrack of her childhood. Today, Eva loves to write about all the exciting happenings for the Walt Disney Company. In her free time, Eva loves to travel, spend time in nature, and go to Broadway shows. Her favorite Disney movie is 'Lilo and Stitch,' and her favorite Park is Disney's Animal Kingdom.