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Florida Residents Sue Gov. Ron DeSantis Over Disney Debt

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taking him to court.Michael Foronda, Edward Foronda, and Vivian Gorsky, who live near Walt Disney World, say that they and their fellow taxpayers will be saddled with $1 billion in debt due to the state’s vote to revoke Disney’s self-governing status. “Plaintiffs, who are property owners in the surrounding counties, fear that they will now have to assume the tax burden that Disney previously assumed under the special tax status,” according to Courthouse News.The Republican-led Florida legislature voted to roll back Disney’s special status and DeSantis signed the bill (SB 4C) into law shortly after, all in retaliation for the company speaking out in opposition of the state’s “don’t say gay” law (HB 1557) and its pledge to end political donations.The lawsuit points to how this decision to remove Disney’s special status is based on retaliation.

It claims DeSantis “intended to punish Disney for a First Amendment-protected ground of free speech” which “directly resulted in a violation of plaintiffs’ Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process of law.”The new law will end independent special districts created before 1968, which includes the Reedy Creek Improvement District inside Walt Disney World, in summer 2023 unless a new agreement is struck.

Within the 39-square-mile district, Disney was allowed to self-govern and operate municipal services, which included both its police and fire departments.

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