Appointees of Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis filed papers with a federal judge Tuesday asking for a ruling against Walt Disney World in their ongoing legal battle.
The entertainment giant is fighting DeSantis’ takeover of the board that oversees the embattled company. The request came from members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District to issue a summary judgment in their favor.
The panel asked for a favorable ruling in five of nine counts in the case.
The 2024 presidential candidate is not a direct litigant in the case. However, his appointees alleged Disney illegally canceled their authority over the design and construction of the company’s facilities.
Among their arguments are that they did not receive proper notice and company officials were not authorized to delegate their responsibilities to a private firm.
Disney previously requested the judge dismiss the lawsuit, but that motion was denied.
A Florida judge should rule without trial against Disney as the company fights Gov. Ron DeSantis’ takeover of a board that oversees Walt Disney World, the Republican governor’s appointees said in a court filing. https://t.co/HoKlLfpS2G
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 16, 2023
The war between Disney and the DeSantis administration began when the company stepped into state politics last year. The family entertainment enterprise opposed the governor’s efforts to block inappropriate gender instruction to small children in public schools.
As the feud intensified, DeSantis took control of the Disney district after Florida legislators passed legislation enabling him to do so. The Republican-appointed a new board of supervisors to manage services in the theme park and hotel complex.
Their authority, however, was largely eliminated by Disney’s agreements with their predecessors. That led to the Legislature nullifying those agreements.
The row with Disney has been center stage in the DeSantis campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. The candidate took the company to task for abandoning the principles it was founded on and bowing to woke activists.
Interviewed by CNBC’s “Last Call” on Monday, DeSantis urged Disney officials to drop their lawsuit against the state. He said lawmakers have moved on from the confrontation with the company.
He asserted that the suit against Florida will go down in defeat.
The company alleged in its suit that the state violated its First Amendment rights and retaliated against it for its opposition to the parental rights bill. Some of DeSantis’ GOP primary opponents have criticized his stand.