ORLANDO, Fla. — Disney continued its longstanding silence over the fate of Reedy Creek on Wednesday, leaving strategists guessing over whether the company had struck a backroom deal with Gov. Ron DeSantis or not.
However, an attorney said the company would have a strong chance of keeping the status quo if it decided to take a case to court.
>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<
“Disney is going to go from uniquely independent to uniquely under political control,” Jacob Schumer, of Shepard, Smith, Kohlmyer & Hand, P.A, said. “They are now getting taxed by somebody who they don’t have a vote for.”
The taxation-without-representation model is unique among Florida’s special districts. Most districts are represented by a board chosen by the residents of the district, though some are appointed by the governor – particularly water management districts.
Read: House committee signs off on proposal to change Disney’s Reedy Creek
Allies of DeSantis argue what they’re doing is legal because the district is mostly being kept intact – an effort to get around the Florida constitution’s requirement that a new taxing district be approved by voters.
Schumer, who represents many Central Florida governments, wasn’t buying it.
“I think that the courts will be very concerned with the prospect of a government being able to basically create a government system around a corporation that has frustrated them, or said something that they didn’t like,” he said. “I think that’s actually going to be more negatively seen by a conservative court.”
Watch: Florida special session: 189-page bill proposes future of Reedy Creek
However, he noted Disney may simply give in – either because a deal has been struck behind the scenes, or because fighting the new system would cost too much.
“Whether or not practically it actually makes sense for them as a question for them to decide,” he said.
Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.
©2023 Cox Media Group