Small Business Accuses Disney of $48 Million Debt, Alleges Sexist Remarks

Treehouse Villas at Disneys Saratoga Springs
Credit: Disney

Last year, when The Walt Disney Company was embroiled in its battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the company commissioned a report to remind Central Florida just how valuable Walt Disney World was to the state. The study estimated that Disney World’s value to the state was $40.3 billion in 2022, a massive amount for the state.

DVC Saratoga Springs

DVC Saratoga Springs. Credit: Disney

Of course, Disney commissioned that study, so it would make Disney World look as good as possible. However, a significant part of that study showed just how much Disney World cooperated with small businesses in Central Florida. By Disney’s estimate, it worked with more than 2,500 small businesses in the area.

Now, one small business in Central Florida is suing the Walt Disney Company over a dispute from 2019 involving the renovations of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. Validus Construction Company of Winter Haven, Florida, was hired to renovate the bathrooms at the Disney Vacation Club Resort.

The original contract called for Validus to renovate the bathrooms in 1,260 Saratoga Springs Resort rooms for $48 million. The construction company alleges that fire code violations and major changes in Disney’s scope of work caused significant delays in the project.

saratoga springs treehouse villas sunrise

Credit: Disney

Disney fired the company and brought in one of Validus’ subcontractors to finish the work. Validus then sued Disney World, claiming breach of contract. In its lawsuit, the company claimed that Disney turned the project into a “dysfunctional mess” and asked the company to do work for which they weren’t willing to pay.

After Validus Construction Services sued the Walt Disney Company, Disney countersued, as did several subcontractors who claimed they were never paid. Now, they will all have their day in court.

Validus’ attorney Thomas Allison told Florida Politics:

There were issues that were uncovered, but kind of the simple way to think about it was that Disney asked for work that they were not willing to pay for. They wanted the rooms to be completed in such a way and then the scope changed … Disney was not willing to pay for that work, and it caused trouble for my client, a small business. Trial is always a tough fight. You’re putting the case and the claims in the hands, in our case, the judge. You hope for the best outcome.

Disney - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis looking angry towards Mickey Mouse dressed as a judge inside of a courtroom.

Credit: Inside the Magic

The two sides will argue their cases beginning April 22 in Orange County Court. In an added twist to this dispute, Validus Construction owner Nicole Wickens accuses members of Walt Disney World’s construction team of making sexist remarks to her and sending her a veiled threat via text message.

According to Wickens, Disney executives sent her a photo of hot sauce, a subtle way of telling her that Disney was “putting the heat” on her.

The Disney Vacation Club Resort has since opened with its new treehouse villas, despite the lawsuit from Validus Construction Services and the subsequent delays.

The court case is expected to last four weeks.

What do you think of Disney being sued again? Let us know in the comments.

This post Small Business Accuses Disney of $48 Million Debt, Alleges Sexist Remarks appeared first on Inside the Magic.

About Rick Lye

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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