Headline RoundupMarch 30th, 2023

Disney World Board Transferred Powers to Disney Before DeSantis Took Control

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Florida lawmakers are considering legal action against Disney after it was revealed that the board overseeing the tax district containing Disney World transferred powers to the Disney corporation shortly before it was reformed by Governor Ron DeSantis (R).

Details: In February, DeSantis signed a bill ending Disney’s semi-self-governing status over the tax district after the company publicly opposed the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act. After taking control of the board, DeSantis appointed his own members to oversee the district. On Wednesday, news broke that shortly before this takeover occurred, the Disney-controlled board transferred powers to the Disney corporation in a development agreement, stripping away some of its authority before being taken over by the state government.

Key Quotes: DeSantis-appointed board member Brian Aungst stated, “we’re going to have to deal with it and correct it. It’s a subversion of the will of the voters and the Legislature and the governor. It completely circumvents the authority of this board to govern.” A statement from Disney defended the action, stating, “all agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law.”

How The Media Covered It: Outlets across the spectrum covered the development. Left- and center rated outlets frequently framed the drama around rumors DeSantis is planning a 2024 presidential run. CNN described the drama as “central to DeSantis’ political narrative of a leader who is unafraid to battle corporate giants.”

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