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Disney files countersuit against DeSantis-appointed board as governor says he wants to ‘move on’

Disney files countersuit against DeSantis-appointed board as governor says he wants to ‘move on’

Disney filed a countersuit this week against the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), accusing the board appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis of breach of contracts. 

The company’s late Thursday 55-page state court filing that claims the board is trying to unlawfully void an agreement that gave Disney broad construction powers over its land before DeSantis’ board took over, comes days after the Republican governor called on Disney to drop their lawsuit, saying they were “going to lose,” according to Forbes and CNBC. 

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“I would just say go back to what you did well, I think it’s going to be the right business decision,” DeSantis told CNBC Monday of what he’d tell CEO Bob Iger of their public feud. “We’ve basically moved on, they’re suing the state of Florida, they’re going to lose that lawsuit. So, what I would say is drop the lawsuit.

“Your competitors all do very well — here at Universal SeaWorld, they have not had the same special privileges as you have,” DeSantis added. “So all we want to do is treat everybody the same and let’s move forward. I’m totally fine with that. But I’m not fine with giving extraordinary privileges to one special company at the exclusion of everybody else.”


Disney filed a countersuit against a Gov. Ron DeSantis-appointed board Thursday. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images, File / Getty Images)

In its countersuit, Disney is asking for a court order to force CFTOD to uphold the agreement, and is also seeking unspecified damages. The filing also denies the board’s claims of Disney’s wrongdoing in its previously filed state lawsuit. 

DeSantis replaced Disney’s former Reedy Creek Improvement District (RDID), which had allowed the theme park giant to self-govern since the 1960s before Disney World first opened, with allied board members to the new CFTOD this year. 


Disney first sued the board in federal court in earlier this year, accusing the DeSantis of replacing the RDID in retaliation for the company speaking out against Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. 

The board then sued Disney in state court, asking that the agreements that gave Disney broad construction powers be voided, after the board voted to void the development contracts that Disney had made before the board to over amid what it called a “climate of escalating retaliation,” according to CNBC. 

Ron DeSantis speaking

On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wanted to “move on” from the feud with Disney.  (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images, File / Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the CFTOD asked a judge to issue a summary judgment against Disney to a avoid a trial in its federal case. 


“That Disney, a private entity, effectively governed itself through RCID for decades does not change the fact that RCID was a local government. As such, RCID was required to comply with Florida constitutional, statutory, and common law in exercising its governmental functions,” the CFTOD wrote in its filing.

Fox Business has reached out to Disney and DeSantis’ office for comment. 

Doonited Affiliated: Syndicate News Hunt

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