Ron DeSantis’s hand-picked board approves spending $4.5 million on legal fees during Disney battle

Author: Molly Sprayregen

The Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis-appointed board overseeing Disney World’s tax district has officially approved a $4.5 million budget for the year to fund the anti-LGBTQ+ governor’s legal battle with the entertainment company.

In response to the way the board has handled funds overall, attorney and business expert Chad Emerson posited that the leaders are “a bunch of novices trying to run a really complex operation.”

“Disney had 50 years or so of doing this and had figured out how to make it run and how to make the guest experience great,” Emerson said. “I don’t think these folks care much about the guest experience.”

The initial budget proposal that included the $4.5 million for legal fees was first put forth in August. District administrator Glen Gilzean called the increase “regrettable,” according to Politico, and acknowledged that it was due to “Disney-induced expenses.”

The district is currently involved in two Disney-related lawsuits. The company is suing DeSantis and his board for “a targeted campaign of government retaliation” in response to the company criticizing his infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law. The board then responded by counter-suing Disney.

Before the feud with Disney began, the district’s annual legal fees were approximately $1.25 million, meaning the board is now spending triple its average.

After DeSantis retaliated against Disney’s opposition to the Don’t Say Gay law by ending the company’s decades-old special zoning agreement and stripping the company of its control over the Reedy Creek Improvement District surrounding Walt Disney World, Disney pulled a fast one on DeSantis and struck a last-minute agreement with the previous board to allow the company to maintain much of its autonomy.

DeSantis’s legal challenges to this move cost the state’s taxpayers $1,300 per hour, in addition to the millions it has already taken to defend DeSantis’s extreme agenda in court. Last year in June, The Orlando Sentinel reported that the state’s legal bills had totaled at least $5.8 million in just five cases.

As the battle wages on, DeSantis’s current presidential campaign is considered flailing by many. He’s polling horribly in the first three states to hold Republican primary elections in 2024: Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada.

A July 2023 poll also found that Republican voters in DeSantis’ own state of Florida far prefer Trump to him. State newspapers have called him “no political genius” and a threat to the entire country.

Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: Molly Sprayregen

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