Already concerned in two lawsuits with Disney, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ appointees to a board that oversees Disney World’s governing district on Monday launched a battle towards the corporate on a brand new entrance — free passes and reductions for district staff.


Board members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District submitted a criticism to the state Inspector Common, claiming that the tens of millions of {dollars} in season passes, in addition to reductions on inns, merchandise, meals and drinks, that their Disney-supporting predecessors supplied governing district staff quantity to unethical advantages and perks.

Final 12 months alone, earlier than the DeSantis appointees took over the governing board and it was nonetheless managed by Disney backers, round $2.5 million in reductions and passes got to district staff and their households, the board mentioned in a information launch.

The association was self-serving to the corporate as a result of it funneled a reimbursement to Disney, with the district footing the invoice, the discharge mentioned.


Disney didn’t reply to an e mail searching for remark. A spokesman for the board didn’t reply to a request for the letter despatched to the Inspector Common, which investigates fraud, mismanagement, waste and abuse.

The association seems to be extra like an worker profit quite than a taxpayer rip-off, much like the best way professors at a college might get free passes to athletic occasions or free tuition for relations, mentioned Richard Foglesong, a Rollins School professor emeritus who wrote a definitive account of Disney World’s governance in his ebook “Married to the Mouse: Walt Disney World and Orlando.”

The criticism from the DeSantis appointees comes because the district administrator they appointed final Could faces an ethics dilemma of his personal. Glen Gilzean, who earns $400,000 yearly in his new job, is also chair of the Florida Fee on Ethics. He can’t concurrently be a fee board member and work for the district as a result of the fee prohibits public staff from serving on its board, a fee lawyer mentioned final week in a authorized opinion.

A combat between DeSantis and Disney started final 12 months after the corporate, going through important stress internally and externally, publicly opposed a state legislation banning classroom classes on sexual orientation and gender id in early grades.

As punishment, DeSantis took over the district via laws handed by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature and appointed a brand new board of supervisors to supervise municipal companies for the sprawling theme parks and inns. However the brand new supervisors’ authority over design and development has been restricted by the corporate’s agreements with Disney-supporting predecessors, which had been signed earlier than the brand new board took over.

In response, Florida lawmakers handed laws that repealed these agreements.

Disney has sued DeSantis in federal courtroom, claiming the governor violated the corporate’s free speech rights. The district has sued Disney in state courtroom, searching for to nullify the agreements.

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