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Federal Judge Rules in Favor of DeSantis in Fight Over Control of Disney's Governing District

Florida - Wednesday January 31, 2024: U.S. District Court Judge Allen Winsor issued an opinion Wednesday dismissing the federal case Disney brought against Governor DeSantis.

To read the opinion from Judge Winsor, click here.

A release from the Governor’s office states that this should end Disney's attempt to regain control of the governing district board once named The Reedy Creek Improvement District. The name of the board was changed, and all of its members replaced by DeSantis in April 2022. It is now called the central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

In his opinion, Judge Winsor cited what he called numerous errors in Disney's arguments. He wrote that Disney is "not the district's only landowner," and the new law that stripped Disney of its control over the District "did not implicate any constitutionally protected conduct".

DeSantis is not quoted in the release, but his Press Secretary, Jeremy Redfern, is quoted as saying:

"As stated by Governor DeSantis when he signed HB 9-B, the Corporate Kingdom is over. The days of Disney controlling its own government and being placed above the law are long gone. The federal court's decision made it clear that Governor DeSantis was correct: Disney is still just one of many corporations in the state, and they do not have a right to their own special government. In short — as long predicted, case dismissed."

Disney however is expected to appeal the decision.