Central Florida Tourism Oversight District announced Monday that it will countersue Disney after the company sued the Florida governor. Ron DeSantis.
Disney filed suit against DeSantis, alleging the Republican orchestrated an “organized campaign of governmental reprisals” against the company. This violated Disney’s right to free speech.
Disney is challenging the legality of the new board DeSantis has appointed to run Central Florida Tourism Oversight District where the Walt Disney World Resort is located.
According to Politico, Martin Garcia, chair of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, said: “Disney has sued us, and now we have no choice other than to respond.” Martin Garcia said that the district would seek justice in central Florida where both it and Disney reside and conduct business.
On Monday morning the board met and voted on filing a lawsuit in state court against Disney.
Disney is suing the Governor and the Board, and their five members. They are asking the judge to revoke the governor’s authority over the Disney World theme park district. Disney controlled the area for 55 years. The former Disney-controlled Board had given these powers to Disney prior to DeSantis’ appointment of board members in early 2018.
Disney has been contacted to get a response.
Disney’s lawsuit is a continuation of DeSantis’ fight with the company that began last year. The company worked to repeal Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law. Democrats have called this law the “Don’t Say, Gay Bill”.
DeSantis’ response was to ask the Florida Legislature for the removal of Disney’s self-governing powers and to create a board consisting of only his appointees who now control the development of this theme park.
Recently, the board voted to cancel two contracts Disney had signed in February.
DeSantis was summoned by a Florida court last Thursday for Disney’s lawsuit, despite the fact that he was on a trip to Israel 6,000 miles away from Florida.
The U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Florida sent the summons to the Governor’s Office at Tallahassee.
“A lawsuit has been filed against you,” it says, adding that “within 21 days after service of this summons on you (not counting the day you received it)… you must serve on the plaintiff an answer to the attached complaint or a motion under Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.”
DeSantis told reporters in Jerusalem that “I do not believe the lawsuit is meritorious.”
They are angry that they must follow the same rules and taxes as everyone else. Florida’s days of putting companies on a pedestal with no accountability are over.