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No. 73: Snow White Outwits Ron DeSantis

 Member Newsletter
March 30, 2023 5:20 p.m.

Two topics I want to discuss with you today. First, a sort of feel-good story: After Ron DeSantis’s big effort to take away Disney’s special governing district in Florida over the company’s support of gay rights, it looks like Disney simply outwitted him and his new board of political appointees. They didn’t even have to resort to much trickery. DeSantis and his cronies just weren’t paying attention.

That’s below.

I also want to make sure you saw a story our Josh Kovensky published yesterday. You remember back in 2019 and 2020, Rudy Giuliani was wandering around Ukraine looking for dirt on the Biden family and, unsurprisingly, he managed to hook up with a group of Ukrainian nationals who were widely suspected of working for Russian intelligence. These are the connections, individuals and hijinks that helped get Trump impeached in 2019. Those links continued through the reelection year of 2020.

It now turns out those same people who were working with Giuliani were later tasked by Russian intelligence with laying the groundwork for the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Americans are still arguing about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia back in 2016. But we can see more clearly now what many suspected then — that they were even more clearly doing so in 2019 and 2020.

Here’s Josh’s story. It’s another example of what our reporters come up with with your support.

Wow. Disney Pantsed Lil’ Ron!

Originally Published: March 30, 2023 11:18 a.m.

You may remember that as one of Ron DeSantis’s culture war gambits he punished Disney’s position on gay rights in the state by abolishing the special government jurisdiction which essentially allowed Disney to run Disney World as its own town or governmental district. That was the Reedy Creek Improvement District. DeSantis had the state legislature replace Reedy Creek with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. Now the political appointees DeSantis put on the Oversight District board to lord it over Disney are crying foul, saying Disney pulled a fast one on them and essentially cut them out of any effective power for decades into the future.

On the last meeting of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the then-board approved a series of agreements and restrictive covenants (you can see them here) which, according to the Oversight Board folks, locks them out of any effective power for the better part of a century.

The DeSantis team has called in a right-wing law firm to see if it can get out from under the agreement. The law firm of Cooper & Kirksurprise surprise!!!, recently hired failed Senate candidate Adam Laxalt and once employed fellow Harvardians Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz.

Disney responds that the then-board did everything in line with Florida law in public session. And well … sucks to be you, Ron, basically.

The covenant even goes in for what seems like some very Disneyified kings and queens and Shrek type trolling. The covenant declaration notes that if the agreement is deemed in violation of the rule against perpetuities the declaration will remain valid until “21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, king of England living as of the date of this declaration.”

Since Charles has recently born grandchildren that would seem to lock this in place for roughly a century. DeSantis board member Brian Aungst Jr. rather lamely opines that he hopes Disney will work with the DeSantis board to correct the situation in a “very collaborative manner.”

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