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DeSantis Board Accused of Inside Trading, Separation From Disney World Imminent

A new million-dollar deal has emerged from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s board, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), leading to the accusation of the DeSantis board dealing in inside trading and the possibility of the governing district attempting to separate itself from Walt Disney World (WDW).

An image to the left of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with a photo to the right of the Magic Kingdom castle with a vs. graphic in the middle.
Credit: Edited by Inside The Magic

The DeSantis vs. Disney vs. CFTOD Legal Battle Continues

New information indicating further political drama from WDW’s governing district, the former Reedy Creek District, now called the Central Florida Oversight Tourism District, has been released. But where did this all start, and why are they at each other’s throats? It all began when Disney World took a political stance on a pressing issue that became law throughout Florida.

Following Disney’s stance, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis began to take a considerable interest in WDW and how the theme park super-giant governs itself, leading DeSantis to question why Disney holds so much power in the state of Florida. This led to DeSantis taking over the former Reedy Creek district, Walt Disney World Resort’s governing district, and ultimately dismantling its previous board to bring in his puppets to keep tabs on WDW.

In May 2023, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) sued Disney in a Florida state court. The CFTOD board accused Disney of trying to undermine the new board’s authority and sneaking deals through right before the change in leadership took place.
Disney filed a federal lawsuit against CFTOD. Disney sought unspecified damages and faced concrete, imminent, and ongoing injury due to CFTOD’s new powers and composition. Disney moved to withdraw four of its five claims against DeSantis and the CFTOD, leaving only the free speech allegations.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis smiling while looking at the Cinderella Castle inside the Magic Kingdom at Disney World.
Credit: Inside The Magic

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An Orange County judge denied Disney’s request to throw out the state lawsuit. Governor DeSantis and the CFTOD Board of Supervisors have also filed new motions to dismiss Walt Disney World’s federal case against them. Legal and political tensions recently rose as WDW filed a counter-lawsuit against DeSantis, leading to where we are today.

Disney has sent numerous subpoenas to the CFTOD and recently sent one to the former Reedy Creek administrator, John Classe. The warrants are a means to gather information on the previous deals and attempt to create enough evidence for the lawsuit, which Disney World now has until October 30 to decide.

But now, the CFTOD is accused of insider trading and desiring to separate itself from the House of Mouse. According to a new report from WFTV9, the CFTOD is investing $1 million in a recent communication network and completely separating itself from the existing WDW system. This was from a direct comment by the CFTOD’s head, Glen Gilzean.

Mickey Mouse and Ron DeSantis in front of Cinderella Castle, representing the Disney DeSantis legal battle.
Credit: Inside the Magic

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The new system is to “help improve 911 calls and response times.” The million-dollar investment deal will go to an ethics commission member, Freddie Figgers, who Gilzean worked with not three months ago. Gilzean had to resign from this ethics committee after it was discovered that it was against Florida state law to hold both jobs.

The reasoning behind the so-called inside trading allegation stems from the deal between Gilzean and Figgers being made so suspiciously short that, according to WFTV9, it looks like it was made without having any other open bids from other companies. WFTV9 claims to have emails indicating a timeframe that would corroborate the inside trading allegations, which, if proven true, would be a massive problem for the CFTOD and Governor DeSantis.

WFTV9 reported on Figgers’s team providing a statement on this new deal, saying the following:

This new architecture will enable all wireless emergency calls to be directly routed to the district’s 911 system, significantly reducing response times and potentially saving lives.

The contract is now supposedly being done for less than a million dollars.

This post originally appeared on Inside the Magic.

Emmanuel Detres

Since first stepping inside the Magic Kingdom at nine years old, I knew I was destined to be a theme Park enthusiast. Although I consider myself a theme Park junkie, I still have much to learn and discover about Disney. Universal Orlando Resort has my heart; being an Annual Passholder means visiting my favorite places on Earth when possible! When I’m not writing about Disney, Universal, or entertainment news, you’ll find me cruising on my motorcycle, hiking throughout my local metro parks, or spending quality time with my girlfriend, family, or friends.

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