Attorney General’s Office wants records over Disney-Reedy Creek deal
Image via AP.

Walt Disney World
'Please limit your search to documents discussing an intention or goal of circumventing, avoiding, frustrating, mitigating or otherwise attempting to avoid the effects of anticipated actions by the Florida Governor and the Florida Legislature.'

The Florida Attorney General’s Office is seeking public records related to the old Reedy Creek board’s last-minute agreement with Disney to limit the district’s power before a state-run board took over last month.

The new members of Disney World government board said Wednesday the previous board made a 30-year agreement with Disney to limit the board’s power.

Under a new law, Gov. Ron DeSantis was given the power to pick five board members last month to run Disney World’s government, seizing control from Disney. It was Republicans’ punishment for Disney speaking out against the Parental Rights in Education law that’s been called the “Don’t Say Gay” law by critics.

But it appears Disney and its new government board could start a legal battle as the new board plans to hire law firms and vowed to overturn the agreement approved by the old board.

The Governor’s Office released a records request sent Thursday by Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Chief of Staff, James Percival.

Percival asked Reedy Creek for emails, text messages and other correspondence between district employees and board members about the agreement.

“Please limit your search to documents discussing an intention or goal of circumventing, avoiding, frustrating, mitigating or otherwise attempting to avoid the effects of anticipated actions by the Florida Governor and the Florida Legislature,” Percival wrote in the email submitted as a public records request, the same way journalists or members of the public do to get information.

“I ask that this request be expedited to the maximum extent possible.”

Percival and Moody’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions Thursday about whether Moody is launching an official investigation. Reedy Creek’s district administrator John Classe did not respond to comment either.

Disney World board members responded with anger and vowed to fight back Wednesday.

“The arrogance of Disney continues from ignoring parents and allowing radicals to sexualize our children, to now ignoring Florida taxpayers by sneaking in a last-minute sweetheart development agreement, Disney has once again overplayed their hand in Florida,” Disney World board member Bridget Ziegler, a politically connected Republican, wrote on Twitter.

“We won’t stand for this and we won’t back down.”

Meanwhile, Disney fans and Donald Trump’s allies responded with glee.

“President Trump wrote ‘Art of the Deal’ and brokered Middle East peace. Ron DeSantis just got out-negotiated by Mickey Mouse,” said Taylor Budowich, who runs Trump’s super PAC.

Disney has defended the agreement with the old board.

“All agreements signed between Disney and the district were appropriate and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.

Reedy Creek Improvement District, which is being renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, is responsible for maintaining roads, building infrastructure and providing rescue services on the giant Walt Disney World Resort property.

The district levies taxes that Disney, the primary landowner, pays in what’s been a unique form of government meant to give Disney control over its theme parks when the company decided to build in Florida 50 years ago.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


  • PeterH

    March 30, 2023 at 6:22 pm

    Requesting confidential information and documents from Disney has opened the door for Disney to request the same confidential documents, phone records and emails from DeSantis and all members of the Florida Legislature concerning this issue!

    A nine year old with no degree in law could play a better chess game than the DeSantis regime!

    Don’t expect this contest of the stupids to be resolved in your lifetime.

    • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

      March 30, 2023 at 9:32 pm

      And this clown thinks he can be President some day?
      😂 😂 😂

      Big Corporate interests have been watching this entire thing, and DeSantis is literally insane if they think they’re going to throw their money & support behind a guy who waged a completely nonsensical culture war against one of the biggest and most important companies in his very own state out of spite.

      DeSantis is just completely unhinged. The guy doesn’t have the brains or the temperament to be running a lemonade stand in YeeHaw Junction, and somehow this guy Forest Gumped his want into the becoming the Governor.

  • Bert Stimson

    March 30, 2023 at 8:25 pm

    Oh Ron, you small, petty, short man. You’ve already lost in every meaningful way but keep digging in deeper.

    • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

      March 30, 2023 at 9:27 pm

      He’s too short to go on any of the rides, and that’s where this whole stupid vendetta began. But now that he’s been wearing those sexy high heels, he’s at least able to go on It’s a Small World. It’s his favorite ride because he’s not intimated by the height of those little dolls.

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    March 31, 2023 at 10:03 am

    The mouth-frothers of the far left are amusing. The state will win this because Disney didn’t make the intent of the change clear.. They obfuscated it.

    • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

      March 31, 2023 at 10:33 am

      LOL, nice try but no.

      They literally published it in the paper before they did this, as per Florida Sunshine Laws, and held an open forum. Nobody from the board attended that forum.

      DeSantis had his chance, and blew it. Complete incompetence. But being a tyrant is hard.

  • just sayin

    March 31, 2023 at 10:21 am

    Funny to see all the “progressives” ardently defending a multibillion dollar corporation’s right to have its own government and evade oversight. Keep moving society forward, fellas.

    • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

      March 31, 2023 at 10:35 am

      Ok, cool. So maybe DeSantis can strip The Villages of these same property rights too. You know, just to be consistent and not hypocritical.
      The Villages is the largest single special tax district in the entire country.

    • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

      March 31, 2023 at 10:37 am

      And it’s funny to see “conservatives” ardently defending a Big Government action to seize control of a private businesses over a free speech spat.

      There’s a word for when Big Government seizes the means of production from private business. But I can’t seem to remember what that word is. Maybe you can help me remember?

  • Otis Tidwell

    March 31, 2023 at 11:02 am

    Maybe Ron’s decision to start a nonsense culture war with the biggest media empire on the planet was a bad one?

    And all you had to do was just sit back and accept Disneys criticism like a grown up. Like any normal politician would. But you couldn’t even do that and now you’re making a complete clown of yourself in front of the country.

  • Mark Tilham

    March 31, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    Ron should provide delivery of documents to his opposition using exactly the same time frames as his administration has been providing to the public and journalists over the past year.
    In other words, “when the cows come home, I’ll get you the info you requested and paid a fortune for.”

  • David

    March 31, 2023 at 3:06 pm

    Imagine the day, coming soon, when tumbleweeds blow down Main Street at the “Happiest place on Earth.” And Cinderellas castle becomes the Governors Mansion. Dumbo will likely be retained. Boycot Florida.

    • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

      March 31, 2023 at 3:27 pm

      Yes, great outcome for everybody. I’m sure that will totally happen.

      Destroying one of Floridas biggest industries, tourism, all because Governor ManBaby had a temper tantrum when Disney criticized him. When all he had to do is be a man and shrug it off.

      DeSantis is absolutely pathetic. But it seems like GOP voters love whiny, thin skinned Manbabies like DeSantis and Trump for some weird perverted reason.

  • woken up

    March 31, 2023 at 4:35 pm

    Ashhole Moody should have her trolls focused on Citizens Property Insurance instead of Disney. Just watch your homeowners insurance get tagged with another surcharge to pay for Citizens policies unless of course you are getting a low fare ride on the Government insurance!

    • Dr. Franklin Waters

      March 31, 2023 at 11:03 pm

      The Culture War is just a thing that the GOP is using to distract the Paste Eaters from the Class War.

  • vb60

    April 3, 2023 at 10:00 am

    This whole situation reminds me of the great Super Bowl Leon-Lett-Don-Beebe play. Leon scooped up a fumble and was rumbling down the field for a sure touchdown. Ten yards away from scoring, he began celebrating this spectacular play and lost focus. Don raced from at least twenty yards behind Leon and knocked the ball out of his hand as he was just about to cross the goal line.

    Ron DeSantis, too, stated his celebration too soon. He included a whole chapter in his new book about how he took on big, bad Disney. He was doing book tours, strutting around with his chest out like a rooster. There was Disney, coming, unbeknownst to Ron, from behind. And just as Ron was getting ready to high-step across the goal line, Disney knocked the ball from his hand.

Comments are closed.


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