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On Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis restated his intention to punish the Walt Disney Co. for its “underhanded” and “self-dealing” behavior by rescinding most of the powers the state intended to take from the firm and give to a new board established by DeSantis.
The Republican governor made similar warnings during a news conference in Ocala as he had the day before during a speech at Hillsdale College in Michigan.
Initially, DeSantis went after Disney because of its opposition to his Parental Rights in Education Act, which prohibits discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with students in grades K-3.
For nearly 60 years, the people of this state were their bosses. That has been stopped by us. We revoked their right to self-rule,” DeSantis claimed.
They tried to do things that, you know, quite frankly were underhanded, like signing a development agreement at the eleventh hour that was supposed to bind the district as it made the transition from being governed by a corporation to being governed by a state-controlled board based on the will of the people.
In the first place, this is blatant self-dealing. They’re haggling with their selves. The governor categorically forbade the move.
Accordingly, the Florida legislature has the power to nullify such provisions. The state board, where I work, seems likely to nullify it as well. I believe that issue has been resolved on both ends.
District of Central Florida Oversight of Tourism
DeSantis was referring to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District when he used the word “district.” This agency recently took over taxation authority for Disney’s land from the Reedy Creek Improvement Agency, which had been established by the Florida legislature when Walt Disney first came to the state to develop Walt Disney World.
DeSantis appointed political cronies and wealthy fundraisers to the new board. As NPR reported, Reedy Creek passed a “declaration of restrictive covenants” on May 30, allowing “Disney to have the final say on any alterations to the property and requires the board to inform Disney of plans for such alterations without conditions or delays,” even though the new arrangement didn’t go into effect until June 1.
When Governor DeSantis approved the bill, members made it clear they wanted to prevent Disney from “injecting a lot of the sexuality into the programming for kids,” as the governor put it.
According to a letter sent by DeSantis to the state’s inspector general on Monday, the governor has ordered a criminal and civil investigation into the new arrangement because it “appears to suffer from serious legal infirmities,” such as “inadequate notice,” “lack of consideration,” “improper delegation of authority,” and “ethical violation,” which includes “conflict of interest” and “self-dealing.”
Related video : Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Legislature ready to again take aim at Disney (Forbes Breaking News)
According to the governor, the investigation must reveal any contacts between Disney and Reedy Creek or local administrations.
DeSantis Communications Director Taryn Fenske said in an official statement, “While a company has First Amendment rights, it does not have the right to run its government and operate outside the bounds of Florida law.”
She went on to say that the Florida legislature and Governor DeSantis had fought to level the playing field for Disney and that the company had been found trying to sabotage the law at the last minute.
CEO Defends Decision
Reports from a shareholder meeting indicate that Disney CEO Bob Iger defended the company’s conduct.
Iger argued that businesses had the same right to free expression as people do.
The governor was infuriated by Disney’s stance and has chosen to take revenge on the firm, effectively seeking to punish Disney for exercising a constitutional right. To me, it’s immoral to target a business with such significance to the state in which you reside.
But DeSantis seems hellbent on getting his money back from Disney.
All bets are off now that this is back on the table. We must make it clear that no one, whether an individual or a corporation, is above the law. In the end, Florida’s sovereignty rests with its citizens.
They choose officials and lawmakers at large through elections. Disney, I believe, has long believed it to be immune to such constitutional checks and balances. On Friday, he declared, “Well, those days are over here in the state of Florida.”
DeSantis went on to say that in the following weeks, the new board would take “very strong action that would validate what we said.”
However, “further legislative action will be taken in Tallahassee that will nullify what they attempted to do at the eleventh hour and then potentially, you know, arm the board with the ability to make sure that this is run appropriately.”
IN SHORT :
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vowed to penalize Walt Disney on Friday for opposing his Parental Rights in Education Act, which bans schools from teaching kindergarten through third graders about sexual orientation and gender identity.
The governor created a new board to take most of the corporation’s powers, replacing Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, a taxing authority established by the Florida legislature when Disney moved to Florida to develop Walt Disney World.
DeSantis appointed political allies and campaign donors to the board. DeSantis accused Disney of “underhanded” and “self-dealing” by enacting a “declaration of restrictive covenants” before the new arrangement became law, allowing Disney to have the final say on property alterations and requiring the board to inform Disney of such plans without conditions or delays.
“The new arrangement appears to suffer from serious legal infirmities, including, among other things, inadequate notice, lack of consideration, an improper delegation of authority, and an ethical violation, such as conflict of interest and self-dealing,” DeSantis said, ordering a civil and criminal investigation.
Disney CEO Bob Iger defended the corporation’s actions at a shareholder meeting, saying “The company has a right to freedom of speech just like individuals do.”
What are the Parental Rights in Education Act?
The Parental Rights in Education Act is a law proposed by Governor Ron DeSantis in Florida that prohibits schools from teaching students in kindergarten through third grade about sexual orientation or gender identity.
Why did Governor DeSantis want to punish the Walt Disney Corporation?
Governor DeSantis wanted to punish the Walt Disney corporation for engaging in “underhanded” and “self-dealing” behavior by withdrawing the majority of the powers that the state intended to take from the corporation and give to a new board that was established by DeSantis.
What is the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District?
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District is a newly established district that took the place of Disney’s previous Reedy Creek Improvement District. The new board was established by Governor DeSantis to oversee tourism in the area.
Why did Governor DeSantis order an investigation into the new arrangement?
Governor DeSantis ordered an investigation into the new arrangement because he believed it “appears to suffer from serious legal infirmities, including, among other things, inadequate notice, lack of consideration, an improper delegation of authority, and an ethical violation, such as conflict of interest and self-dealing.”
Why did Disney CEO Bob Iger defend the company’s activities during a shareholder meeting?
Disney CEO Bob Iger defended the company’s activities during a shareholder meeting because he believed that “the company has a right to freedom of speech just like individuals do” and that the governor’s actions were an attempt to “punish a company for its exercise of a constitutional right.”
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