DeSantis vs Disney: The Magic Kingdom Asks Court to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Special Tax District
The legal battle between Disney and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis inched forward Tuesday, with Disney asking a Florida court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the tourism oversight district that DeSantis appointed to oversee Disney World’s operations.
"Just over a year ago, Disney expressed a political view that Governor DeSantis did not like," Disney argued in a court filing. "In response, the Governor unleashed a campaign of retaliation, weaponizing the power of government to punish Disney for its protected speech."
It’s all part of the ongoing spat that began when Disney took a public stand against what critics call the “don’t say gay” bill. Signed a little over a year ago, “Parental Rights in Education” law prohibits teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade classes.
Soon thereafter, DeSantis went after a special taxing district that had long allowed the company to govern its Orlando parks’ operations, ultimately replacing its five-member board with his own appointees.
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The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District lobbed a host of restrictions against the Magic Kingdom, recently suing Disney to block it from developing.
Disney responded with a federal lawsuit accusing DeSantis of abusing his authority in an act of political retribution. The DeSantis-picked board of governors then filed a lawsuit in state court, which Disney is now asking the court to dismiss.
Disney argues the case is legally irrelevant after DeSantis signed a bill voiding its development deals within the district. The move by DeSantis essentially accomplishes what the lawsuit was trying to get Disney to do, Disney lawyers wrote.
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