The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) held its third board meeting Wednesday morning. Let’s review some of the main points that were brought up.
Board Chair Martin Garcia referred to the new Developer Agreements put into place in Disney’s “11th-hour deal” are “illegal.” He said that what Disney tried to do by putting them into place was “shameful.”
David Thompson, counsel to the Board, said that Disney’s Developer Agreements are “illegal and unconstitutional,” saying that they “will not stand.” Thompson says Disney failed to mail notices to the residents who would be affected, which voids their agreement. He continued by accusing Disney of engaging in a “caper worthy of Scrooge McDuck” concerning the King Charles Clause and that “its efforts are illegal.” Thompson says Disney’s agreements are unconscionable and that they “cannot hide behind the comprehensive plan.” The new board will look to void the King Charles Clause at their next meeting.
Former Justice of the FL Supreme Court Alan Lawson says the agreements, if left in effect, would substantially affect residents.
The Oversight District’s lawyers also showed emails demonstrating Disney’s deep involvement in the Development Agreements, which a Disney lawyer even admits would look bad for optics and could be considered self-dealing. Another email from Disney’s counsel depicts the theme park giant providing Reedy Creek leaders with edits and talking points for agenda items.
Garcia brought up the Married to the Mouse book and suggested that it went against what was set forth by the state of FL. He said that no one in Tallahassee was willing to “shine a light” on what Disney had been doing until Governor Ron DeSantis began taking action, starting with appointing the new CFTOD. He continued by saying that it was “especially shameful” that Disney took adversarial actions before the board came to be, referring to the Developer Agreements.
Garcia said the new District had planned on working with Disney in a “productive and collaborative manner,” building a “mutually beneficial relationship” until they discovered the “unlawful agreements.” That was when, according to Garcia, the District realized “compromise was out of the question” and that it would be “Disney’s way or the highway.”
As of the time of this posting, “proposals to void Disney’s last-minute development agreement with Reedy Creek cleared the Senate Rules and House State Affairs committee along party lines Wednesday and are now headed to both chambers for final passage” according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Disney used to get special treatment from DeSantis & GOP legislators – until Disney stopped giving them money.— Scott Maxwell (@Scott_Maxwell) April 19, 2023
Universal, however, keeps getting favors.
Ever wonder why?
(This was a pre-session party, valued at over $160k.)
Invite image via – https://t.co/vMT9EYJ95L pic.twitter.com/H0M1mP3Fjm
The subject of affordable housing was brought up as well. Special Counsel Daniel Langley stated that there was “no affordable workforce housing” and that creating a “level playing field” for everybody would be a focus. There was no mention of the 80-acre affordable housing development Disney announced in April 2022. Langley also said that deed restrictions are currently in place that are not in the best interest of residents of Central Florida as they prohibit additional use of land.
Langley brought up that there are 90+ lawsuits whose outcomes would affect the dollar amount of taxes paid to Orange County. Complaints allege that assessments exceed the fair market value of properties with an estimated $11.4 mil to be refunded to Disney if Disney won the lawsuits. Langley accused Disney of aggressively trying to avoid paying taxes and that local schools are essentially begging Disney to stop aggressively attempting to get large tax refunds from the school district in Orange County. The board approved the motion to allow legal counsel to work with the property appraiser to ensure that property assessments stick.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the termination of the existing RCID Planning and Zoning Board and appointed themselves to step into the role of the local agency for any future development.
Michael Sasso, the Vice-Chair, brought up an agenda item for the District’s next meeting suggesting the prevention of any face mask or vaccine mandates within the CFTOD in regard to COVID-19.
The Board approved the “Superior Authority” amendment to have a second reading at April 26th meeting.
Senior Editor for the DIS and DCL Fan | Disney Vacation Club Member | Thrilled to have been a '13/'14 Disney Parks Moms Panelist (now planDisney) | Lover of all things Disney; the Magic of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disney Cruise Line | ºoº