Gov. DeSantis Office, Randy Fine dispute report of Disney ‘U-turn’

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‘U-turn implies repeal, and there’s a 0% chance of that happening.’

The Governor’s Office and key lawmakers are disputing reports Florida will reverse legislation to strip Disney of its self-governing abilities.

A report published early Friday by the Financial Times purports that lawmakers are preparing a “U-turn” on a law set to dissolve Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District at the end of June. However, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office downplayed the characterization.

“Gov. DeSantis does not make ‘U-turns,'” Press Secretary Bryan Griffin said in a statement posted to Twitter. “The Governor was right to champion removing the extraordinary benefit given to one company through the RCID. We will have an even playing field for businesses in Florida, and the state certainly owes no special favors to one company.”

DeSantis signed the legislation in April after Disney stepped up its public opposition to a measure limiting classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity — called the “Don’t Say Gay” law by the entertainment giant and other critics. Under returning leadership from CEO Bob Iger, who abruptly began a second stint as CEO late last month, Disney has made overtures of a mea culpa as lawmakers plan the future of the RCID.

The law is a ticking time bomb for Disney and Florida. The special district allows Disney to raise revenue for city-style services, a critical aspect of Disney World’s operation. And if the district dissolves, an estimated $766 million in debts are expected to fall on the surrounding Florida neighborhoods.

Almost immediately, DeSantis and lawmakers acknowledged that they would have to come back to the drawing board in the 2023 Regular Session to patch holes in the bill. In May, DeSantis said his plan was to transfer control of the district to the state and the debt to Disney.

As recently as Tuesday, DeSantis said he wouldn’t allow the corporation to “run our state.”

“Disney’s debts will not fall on the taxpayers of Florida,” Griffin reiterated Friday. “A plan is in the works and will be released soon.”

Deputy Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern also tweeted a meme disputing the report. “Sounds like Disney propaganda but OK,” read the ’80s retro-style meme graphic.

Rep. Randy Fine, a Brevard County Republican who helped shepherd the Reedy Creek bill, was the one named Republican quoted in the Financial Times’ article. He told the Times that Iger replacing his successor, Bob Chapek, would benefit Disney in negotiations.

But Fine told Florida Politics the Financial Times “got a little over their skis” with the report, particularly the implications of a “U-turn” or “reversal.”

“Nothing in that article justified that headline,” Fine said. “U-turn implies repeal, and there’s a 0% chance of that happening.”

Quoting Orlando Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart, the Financial Times reported the possibility that the state would remove Disney’s right to create a nuclear power plant or an airport within the district. Another possibility would be to allow the Governor to appoint members of the RCID board.

Fine would not comment to Florida Politics on any negotiations he may have had with the Governor or on the matter.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Joe Corsin

    December 2, 2022 at 3:21 pm

    DeSantis in that picture looking like he sat on a sausage. Tom Legend knows all about it. Knows all about being beat with a sausage worse than Rubio canvasser.

  • When will Republicans stop lying?

    December 2, 2022 at 3:30 pm

    DeSantis failed leadership is bad for business in Florida in turn bad for the economy. I want to see an article from Florida politics on Rons failures.

    Developers Pulling Plug on South Florida Projects Due to Insurance Costs

  • Joe Corsin

    December 2, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    Ye gon get ye acorns kicked off the side of your head Tom Legendary Imbecile!!! From ye head round the back of the ass! Finish you off with a gargantuan hammer fist.. spinning fist.

  • Boaz

    December 3, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    As predicted, Disney will crawl on its belly to the seat of power (State Capitol, Tallahassee) to try to negotiate its terms of unconditional surrender to the free State of Florida. Woke corporations or, most aptly put, corporations trying to curry much diminished favor with the non-woke Florida Legislature and the Governor of the free state of Florida, beware.

Comments are closed.


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