In an ongoing battle between Florida's governor and the media and entertainment giant Disney, reports Wednesday point to a potential high-profile legal confrontation ahead after the governor's chosen board said Disney stripped it of its power.
Gov. Ron DeSantis put together a "handpicked" board to oversee Disney World's government services, accordingto the Orlando Sentinel.
Now in focus is a 30-year development agreement which has reportedly taken away the power of that new board.
The new Disney Reedy Creek district board began its first meeting by looking at issues with previous leadership and changes it wanted to make, the Orlando Business Journal reported. But, now the group says they are powerless to manage Disney's future at its Central Florida home.
Just as the takeover was set to take place, the Walt Disney Co. used a pact and a set of tight covenants which essentially took away any ability for future board members to make changes for decades to come, according to a presentation from lawyers on Wednesday.
A potential legal fight could be ahead as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and its new Board of Supervisors have voted to have outside attorneys brought in to go over the agreement, including a Washington, D.C. firm which has defended DeSantis' interests in the past.
Disney has stood by its actions.
Authorities working with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District said the development agreement was signed by predecessors last month. It gives Disney maximum development power over the theme parks and resorts among its 27,000 acres in Florida.
Five supervisors were chosen and installed by DeSantis after Florida's legislature made major changes to Disney's governing structure. The changes were a retaliation measure in response to Disney's public opposition to the so-called "Don't Say Gay" legislation in that state.
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