Craig Mateer becomes Disney World government’s newest Board member

300-dpi-C-MATEER-53 copy
Hours before the board meeting, DeSantis recommended who should fill the vacancy.

Gov. Ron DeSantis recommended Orlando businessman and Republican donor Craig Mateer to serve on Disney World’s government board on the eve of its next meeting.

Mateer’s name was revealed around 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to media reports. The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District is scheduled to meet at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. 

The Board has a vacant position after DeSantis announced Chair Martin Garcia left after a one-year tenure. At Wednesday’s meeting, board members are also scheduled to vote on a new district administrator following Glen Gilzean’s appointment as Orange County Elections Supervisor. DeSantis recommended Stephanie Kopelousos, who worked as his senior adviser and the director of Legislative Affairs, for the job.

The state took over Disney World’s Government Board last year as DeSantis and Disney feuded when the entertainment giant spoke out against Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” legislation otherwise known by critics as “Don’t Say Gay.”

Under a new law, DeSantis now has the power to appoint Disney World Government Board members, although Mateer’s appointment requires Senate approval.

CFTOD members are unpaid and oversee the district that provides emergency services, utilities and roads to land primarily made of Walt Disney World Resort.

Mateer is the founder of CCM Capital Group. In 2018, he sold Bags Inc., a company that delivered luggage to hotels, for $275 million.

DeSantis appointed Mateer to several high-profile boards, including the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority in 2021 and the Florida Board of Governors in 2022.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Mateer’s company was paid $75,000 last year to provide travel to DeSantis’ presidential campaign.

Mateer also made headlines in 2021 when he said he was interested in buying the Orlando Sentinel before the newspaper was sold to the hedge fund Alden Global Capital.

“I think having a local paper that understands local interests and concerns is important, and I’m a supporter of that,” Mateer told the Sentinel in the story.

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 .


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704