House Tyrell would be proud: as Governor DeSantis attempts to strip Disney World of its autonomy, he is thwarted by a document that invokes the royal family.
Great Disney World Against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ War has had many twists and turns, but here’s one that invokes the British royal family.
In February, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill take control disney Special tax district in the world, ending decades of operation of the park by Walt Disney Corp. under self-government status. However, according to the Orlando Sentry, On Feb. 8 — the day before the legislature installed the DeSantis-appointed “Central Florida Tourism Oversight District” — Disney’s tax district board executed a decision worthy of house tyrell.
He approved a 30-year development deal that effectively renders the CFTOD powerless, according to his lawyers. Under the agreement, Disney can construct high-density projects and buildings of any height and sell or assign development rights, all without board approval. It even prohibits the board from using the Disney name or “whimsical characters such as Mickey Mouse.”
“Game Of Thrones” is a fantastic show (and one not owned by Disney), but the studio went so far as to incorporate actual royalty into its plan with a clause that declares the deal valid until “21 years after the death of the last surviving descendants of King Charles III, King of England Simply put, the CFTOD Board of Trustees should look forward to the end of the lives of King Charles, his sons William and Harry, five grandchildren and all other offspring – then wait 21 years – for the deal to expire.
Is the Royal Family’s bloodline the very bizarre way to nod to the Magic Kingdom and its lucrative Disney Princesses? Maybe! (Disney did not respond to an email seeking comment.) The Royal Lives Clause is a contractual clause that dates back to 1692 in Britain, and is most commonly used in the UK; in the United States, it is more often used as a life clause for presidents.
It is most often seen in trusts as a way to avoid common law rules against perpetuities. The “21 years later” timeline stems from the stipulation that legal documents transferring ownership are void 21 years after the death of its primary recipient. The Royal Lives Clause allows lawyers to establish a window of time that will never expire.
According to an unsigned statement from Disney obtained by Sentinel: “All signed agreements between Disney and the District were appropriate and were discussed and approved in open and public forums observed, in accordance with the Government of Florida in Sunshine Law.”
Disney’s development deal is certainly a creative way to stall DeSantis and his board, but they’re not amused. According to the Sentinel, district attorneys made a legal submission on March 29 announcing they would be filing a lawsuit against Disney.
“We’re going to have to deal with it and fix it,” board member Brian Aungst Jr. said during the presentation, according to the Sentinel. “It is a subversion of the will of the voters, of the Legislative Assembly and of the Governor. This completely circumvents the governing power of this council.
The legal row between Disney and Florida began a year ago when then-Disney CEO Bob Chapek criticized DeSantis’ Parental Rights in Education Act, which prohibits discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in schools. Chapek initially remained silent on the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill and only publicly opposed it after employees staged walkouts. The reversal led DeSantis to repeal the law that allowed DisneyWorld self-governance, which was first established in 1967.
Disney did not retain all of its rights. According to the Sentinel, Disney will no longer be able to tax itself to cover park services — the main point of contention in DeSantis’ bid to take over the neighborhood. Even royal intrigue has its limits.
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