Bob Iger decided to go for a mattress following his feud with Ron DeSantis.
On Wednesday, The Walt Disney Co. escalated its war with the governor of Florida, suing Republican lawmakers in federal court over the abolition of the company’s special tax district.
According to a lawsuit filed with the Northern District, the House of Mouse has accused DeSantis, his five-member committee that oversees the now-defunct Reedy Creek Improvement District, and other state officials of a “governmental complaint” against the company. accused of launching a “targeted campaign of retaliation against of Florida.
Two weeks ago, Disney bosses said they don’t view district scrums as “a go-to-mattress situation for us.”
But on Wednesday, Disney filed a lawsuit minutes after a DeSantis-selected oversight board scrapped a last-minute agreement between Disney and the board that manages Orlando’s 25,000-acre resort complex. rice field.
“Today’s action is the latest strike. The state’s board of oversight, by order of the governor, laid the groundwork for Disney’s billion-dollar investment and thousands of jobs, publicly notified and formally It claimed to ‘void’ the agreed-upon development contract,” Disney said. in court documents.
“As punishment for Disney’s protection of speech, the government retaliation campaign orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates constitutional rights. infringement,” the company claimed in court filings. .
Disney cited several statements from DeSantis, including his vow to “void the development agreement.” Set up “more amusement parks” and even a “state prison” next to Walt Disney World.
“This government action was clearly retaliatory, clearly anti-business, and clearly unconstitutional,” Disney said.
“But the governor and his allies have made it clear they don’t care and won’t stop.”
DeSantis withdrew control of Disney’s longtime districts after the company objected to his “don’t say gay” laws that ban sex education and gender-based education for most elementary school students.
A spokesman for DeSantis called Disney’s lawsuit “an unfortunate example of their hope to undermine the will of Florida voters.”
The Board of Oversight, which operates the newly named Central Florida Visitor Watch District, operates as a self-governing body on issues such as taxation and the maintenance of public works within and outside the Disney theme parks.
Just one day before the February ballot, RCID signed a deal that essentially gave Disney the power to oversee the district’s zoning and development for the next 30 years.
DeSantis condemned Disney’s move and vowed to nullify it.
Last week, a five-person board handpicked by DeSantis vowed to cancel the development deal for “Sweetheart.”
“Regardless of your politics, you should not support outdated laws that put corporations above the public interest.
“There is absolutely nothing we cannot do to improve the functioning of our district.”
Garcia also said the new board “wanted to work with Disney, but Disney decided they didn’t want to work with us. It was the Disney way or the highway.”
The Washington Post reached out to Disney for comment.
Florida legislators are also considering a transportation bill that would require state oversight of the monorail system that serves visitors to Walt Disney World. WFLA-TV reported.
The proposed legislative amendment would require the Department of Transportation to oversee monorails and other fixed guideway transportation systems “within a separate special district created by a local law with boundaries within two adjacent counties.” there is.
The bill, which does not mention Disney or its monorails, would give states the power to shut down the system “to ensure the safety and welfare of inspectors and travelers.”
DeSantis has expressed its support for this action.
“They exempted the monorail from safety standards and inspections, so we’re going to make sure it’s subject to oversight, like everything else in Florida,” DeSantis said last week.
DeSantis, who is said to be contending for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has been at odds with Disney since Iger’s predecessor, Bob Chapek, opposed the state’s “don’t say gay” law. .
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,005 U.S. adults found that nearly half (44%) of Republicans have a more positive view of the governor of Florida’s attitude toward Disney. It turns out that there is
Iger, who returned to buy Disney last November, recently attacked DeSantis, calling his actions against the company “anti-business” and “anti-Florida.”
However, in an interview with Time, Iger said he would be happy to discuss the situation.
“If the governor of Florida wants to meet with me to discuss all this, of course, I’m happy to do so,” Iger said.
“As you know, I have generally respected elected officials and their responsibilities. There is no reason not to.”
As of 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Disney shares were down about 0.1%.