Ron DeSantis‘ war with Disney is officially back on. The governor’s hand-picked board of stooges that oversees the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has reacted to Disney’s latest countersuit by accusing the entertainment giant of “unethical” conduct. That conduct? Handing out free passes and discounts to employees and their families who served on the governing board.
While that complaint might seem confusing considering the governing board is now suing Disney, DeSantis reshuffled the members last year and stacked the oversight committee full of his hand-picked lackeys who did not receive the perks. The governor and Florida Republicans publicly boasted that the reshuffle was retaliation for Disney opposing the state’s highly controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prompted Disney to fight back in court and repeatedly run circles around DeSantis.
Via Associated Press:
Board members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District submitted a complaint to the state Inspector General, claiming that the millions of dollars in season passes, as well as discounts on hotels, merchandise, food and beverages, that their Disney-supporting predecessors provided governing district employees amount to unethical benefits and perks.
Last year alone, before the DeSantis appointees took over the governing board and it was still controlled by Disney backers, around $2.5 million in discounts and passes were given to district employees and their families, the board said in a news release.
As for whether this latest DeSantis gambit has legs, not likely. “The arrangement appears to be more like an employee benefit rather than a taxpayer scam, similar to the way professors at a university may get free passes to athletic events or free tuition for family members,” Rollins College professor emeritus Richard Foglesong told the AP.
Fogelsong wrote a “wrote a definitive account of Disney World’s governance” for his book Married to the Mouse: Walt Disney World and Orlando, so he knows the ins and outs of the special district that DeSantis is trying to manipulate.
(Via Associated Press)