The King Of Florida

Let’s take some time to do one of my favorite things:  watching Ron Desantis repeatedly walk into rakes.

First though, let me share this polling news so that we’re all on the same page of schadenfreude:

You may remember that Desantis is trying to erase LBGTQ people from Florida’s citizenry, mainly through his “Don’t Say Gay” law which penalizes people for expressing who they really are. And yes, right now it only applies to elementary and schools…oops I’m being told it now also magically applies public secondary education in Florida. Funny how authoritarianism creeps.

It’s a deeply unpopular law among the few decent people who still live in Florida, but antipathy is only fuel for Desantis’ discriminatory fire. Voters have to wait until the next election to do something about it (and hope that the fallout from Desantis’ doomed presidential bid takes him completely out of politics).

But corporations have their own form of leverage, and Disney holds quite a bit with its central role in Florida’s economy. In addition, Disney is a strong supporter of LGBTQ rights which puts it in public opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

The Disney Corporation has an unique relationship with local government via the signing of the agreement in 1967 to create the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a partnership to address everything a mid-size city would need:  sewer, water, fire, police, power generation, etc. Faced with Disney’s refusal to hurt its business model to appease his bigotry, Desantis decided that killing this agreement and taking over the board so his cronies could boss Disney around was the best punishment and signed legislation to that effect in February.

The thing that puzzled me was Disney’s relatively milquetoast response to this action:

In a statement to CNN after the bill passed the state legislature earlier this month, Jeff Vahle, the president of Walt Disney World Resort, said the company was “ready to work within this new framework, and we will continue to innovate, inspire and bring joy to the millions of guests who come to Florida to visit Walt Disney World each year.”

I mean, one of the new board members thinks tap water makes people gay and Disney was cool with that?

Then on Wednesday we learned that prior to that law taking effect, Disney made a new agreement with the Reedy Creek Investment District which consolidated Disney’s control over the area. The new board began suggesting that the new agreement was full errors, but it appears that it was all above board (pun intended):

In a statement to CNN, Disney stood by its actions.

“All agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law,” the company said. Documents for the February 8 meeting show it was noticed in the Orlando Sentinel as required by law.

I am not sure which I like best:  that this was all done in the open and the arrogance and hubris of the right wing nutjobs running Florida blinded them to it, or the terms of how long this new agreement will stay in effect—21 years after the death of the last descendent of King Charles.

As it turns out, there’s a method to that King Charles madness:

Many states, including Florida, have the Rule Against Perpetuities. It states that no person can put terms in a deed or will that would affect ownership of private property after the person has died. It’s designed to prevent a landowner from having control of private property “in perpetuity” or forever.

In Florida, the Rule Against Perpetuities only allows contingencies to be put on ownership for “life plus twenty-one years.” But, Disney has gotten around this rule by adding a royal lives clause to the agreement. In this case, the agreement will be valid until 21 years after King Charles’ last remaining descendant dies.

I like it. Here’s all of this summed up in 1 image:

Disney can sing itself out:

One thought on “The King Of Florida

  1. If you recall, Florida’s Rule against Perpetuities was a major plot point in Body Heat.

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