Glen Gilzean resigns from Commission on Ethics, keeps $400K-a-year public job overseeing Disney district

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The Commission on Ethics General Counsel said Gilzean could not stay on the governmental watchdog panel and hold a separate public position.

Glen Gilzean is resigning from his position chairing the state Commission on Ethics instead of quitting his $400,000-a-year job as an administrator of the district overseeing Disney, according to media reports.

Gilzean’s conflict of interest as a member of the government watchdog panel and a paid public employee came to light early last week via The Florida Bulldog. Gilzean, appointed to oversee Disney’s governmental functions, held both positions for four months until the Bulldog pointed out that Commission members are barred from holding public employment.

Gilzean on Friday said he would defer choosing between the two positions, but then tendered his Commission resignation Tuesday, which was first obtained by The Messenger.

He said that his dual roles were reviewed previous to that revelation in the Bulldog and found not to be in conflict by more than one lawyer.

“Regrettably, if I had been aware of any issue presented by serving in the two positions, I would have addressed it immediately,” Gilzean wrote.

His resignation rapped the timing of the opinion that he could not hold both roles. General Counsel Steven Zuilkowski said he had to choose one after the Bulldog article and other media inquiries.

“I also came to learn that the legal opinion I requested from the Commission’s General Counsel was simultaneously released to the media,” he wrote in his resignation.

No one from the Commission staff could be reached late Tuesday, but an earlier email to Gilzean said that the opinion was provided to the media in response to public records requests.

Gilzean is frequently identified as an ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis and the DeSantis-appointed board of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District picked him as the district’s administrator.

The district began overseeing Disney World’s government services following the controversial dissolution of the Disney-controlled Reedy Creek Improvement District. Gilzean’s job involves putting the wishes of the district board into action.

Gilzean’s Commission resignation said that he still has important work to do in that paid role.

“The work we are pursuing at the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District is extremely important to me and to the people of Florida,” he wrote.

Gilzean is also the Chairman of the Commissioner of Education’s African American History Task Force which recently made headlines when new social studies curriculum standards were unveiled, including one that called for instruction to include “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Gilzean was chairing the Commission on Ethics when it tossed a complaint from Donald Trump’s allies that DeSantis used his gubernatorial office for a “shadow run” for the White House.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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