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Disney sues DeSantis over ‘targeted retaliation’

(NewsNation) — Disney is suing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the latest escalation in a feud between the company and the governor that began with Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.

Disney alleges a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” orchestrated by DeSantis in an effort to hurt the company’s finances violates the company’s constitutional rights.

Disney is asking the courts to rule that the legislative declaration that created an oversight board for the park is unlawful and unenforceable, along with other legislation introduced by Republican legislators to target Disney, and to uphold contracts Disney approved before the board was seated.

Disney’s lawsuit lays out the park’s history in Florida, including the number of visitors the theme park brings in each year, and asserts that it is one of the top employers and taxpayers in the state.

Disney World is covered by a special tax district that encompasses the park, which gives the Walt Disney Corporation the ability to effectively operate the park as its own county, including issuing approvals for development, handling maintenance and other municipal-type duties including things like safety inspections.

Disney spoke out about Florida’s legislation that would prohibit teaching about gender identity and sexuality in schools, sparking the feud with DeSantis, who retaliated by creating the oversight board for the tax district.

Before the DeSantis-appointed board was seated, Disney pushed through a number of development agreements as well as a covenant that would restrict the power the board had to operate. The covenant is an agreement that extends far into the future.

The DeSantis board voted to nullify the agreements Disney approved, citing a lack of public notice, although all meetings were public and advertised in a local paper.

Disney cited statements from DeSantis suggesting punitive actions against the company, including the nullification of agreements, adding taxes for hotels and tolls for roads, putting more amusement parks on land owned by Disney or even building a state prison next door.

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