This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
When the Disney corporation, through its improvement district board, reached a series of deals with itself and its partners for management of the amusement park and its environs, many thought Gov. Ron DeSantis would be retreating in defeat.
He had, after all, orchestrated the demolition of a decades-old district and the creation of a new one to take authority away from Disney – because of its open defiance of and opposition to a state law protecting children from inappropriate sex agendas.
Then the company's district board, as it was departing and shutting down, reached "last-minute development and restrictive covenant agreements" with Disney that were "designed to usurp the authority" of the new, incoming board that was appointed by DeSantis.
However, the governor now is calling for an investigation of issues that include "serious legal infirmities, improper delegation of authority, ethical violations," and "conflicts of interest and self-dealing."
The Washington Examiner reported DeSantis' order was that the state's chief inspector general review the actions by the board of the longtime Reedy Creek Improvement District, which had run the site for decades but was being shut down because of the company's interference in the state's politics.
DeSantis wants the investigation to review "any legal or ethical violations."
It will include "adherence to applicable Florida civil and criminal laws and ethics requirements," the board members' qualifications, "involvement of Walt Disney World employees and agents" in the district's decisions and more.
The report said, "It will also examine all Reedy Creek Improvement District 'board, employee, or agent communications' related to the district's actions, the bill that restructured the district, the district itself, Orange and Osceola counties, and the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. "
The state already had called on Disney for "texts, emails, and other public records regarding 'documents discussing an intention or goal of circumventing, avoiding, frustrating, mitigating, or otherwise attempting to avoid the effects of anticipated actions of the Florida Governor and Legislature.'"
The report said the Disney board strategy was a "major blow" because it agreed to give up most of its authority – to company interests – and that left the new governor-appointed board without most of its power.
DeSantis's office has suggested the deal is invalid.
A commentary at PJMedia said, "These last-minute machinations happened right before the board of the new special use district that the state of Florida set up was prepared to take office. That board, whose members serve at the behest of the state government, hired a cohort of high-powered attorneys to examine the agreements and covenants for loopholes or weaknesses that can invalidate the actions."