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The Florida Attorney General’s Office ordered Thursday that former members of the Reedy Creek Improvement District must turn over communications they had with The Walt Disney Company over an agreement the two parties signed in early February to hand over their power to the company as the state of Florida was working to strip them of that power.
The old board signed the agreement to transfer its power to the company on February 8 and the agreement was recorded with the Orange County Comptroller on February 9 — the same day that the Florida House passed legislation that renamed the Reedy Creek Improvement District to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and removed Disney’s self-appointed board and replaced it with a board appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis.
News 6 WKMG reported that the discovery was made by attorneys that were hired by the new board. The special counsel also discovered that the old board used a common law property rule known as the “rule against perpetuities” to extend how long Disney has control of the powers.
The Attorney General’s office sent the following letter to the former members of the Disney-appointed board:
I write to advise you of the attached public records request, which the Office of the Attorney General submitted to the entity formerly known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District (the “District”) under Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes. It is likely, if not certain, that you possess records responsive to this request, which would include emails and text messages sent on personal devices or accounts if they were “made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by” the District. See § 119.011(12), Fla. Stat.
To the extent you possess responsive records that are not in the custody or control of the District, this letter advises you of your legal obligation to retain copies and to provide the records to the District as soon as possible. See § 119.10, Fla. Stat. (discussing applicable civil and criminal penalties for violations of Chapter 119).
The Attorney General’s office sent an email to the targeted individuals instructing them to “provide copies of all emails, text messages, and other correspondence from or to employees, board members, or other affiliates of the Reedy Creek Improvement District regarding the following topic: Documents discussing agreements, covenants, or similar documents approved or considered by the Board of Supervisors on February 8, 2023.”
“Please limit your search to documents discussing an intention or goal of circumventing, avoiding, frustrating, mitigating, or otherwise attempting to avoid the effects of anticipated actions by the Florida Governor and Florida Legislature,” the email continued. “If you believe that individuals no longer affiliated with the Reedy Creek Improvement District may possess responsive public records that are not in your custody or control, please advise how the Attorney General’s Office may be of assistance.”
The email said that the records needed to be turned over at the fastest speed possible.