Back in February, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially dissolved the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The district had been what allowed Disney to basically function as its own government for almost sixty years. Governor DeSantis then replaced the Reedy Creek board with his own loyalists and renamed it the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Committee.
Since then, things between Disney and the CFTOD have been less than friendly. The new board is trying to force Disney to end its diversity and inclusion program and has cut the benefits that Reedy Creek first responders have been given for years.
Things have gotten so bad that, back in April, Disney sued DeSantis and the board for violating its First Amendment Rights and breach of contract.The new board is now being sued in both state and federal court.
And now, Disney has filed another lawsuit against the CFTOD, claiming that the board violated Florida’s public records law. Disney claims that it requested a number of records from the CFTOD back in May and the board is not turning them over.
The entertainment company is asking an Orange County circuit court judge to set an “immediate” hearing to declare that CFTOD is unlawfully withholding public records and order the agency to immediately provide Disney with all outstanding requested records.
The lawsuit also accuses CFTOD of allowing District employees and board members to use personal electronic devices and personal email and messaging accounts for government business without adequate processes to ensure public records are preserved or produced.
“On the public records front, this has led to delays, inadequate preservation, storage and production of public records, and improper and unsupported claims of privilege and exemption from disclosure, in violation of the Florida Constitution and (Florida’s Public Record Act),” the lawsuit states.
One of the people specifically named in the lawsuit is CFTOD administrator — and former Florida Ethics Chair — Glenn Gilzean. It is not the first time that Gilzean has been accused of ethics violations, despite his background on ethics committees.
The Disney brass are not the only ones who are reportedly fed up with DeSantis and his hand-picked board. Since the state’s takeover, dozens of the district’s employees have resigned, with the rest feeling “demoralized.” One former Reedy Creek department director went so far as to call the new leadership “unqualified and incompetent.”
It should be noted that none of the members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’s board have any experience working in the theme park industry.
The CFTOD has not responded to the lawsuit, which was filed late Friday, just before the holiday weekend.
What do you think of the actions of the CFTOD? Let us know in the comments!