ORLANDO, Fla. - The board now overseeing the development district that contains Disney World voted unanimously to approve a report that is highly critical of the now-defunct Reedy Creek District.
"Disney pulled a bait and switch at the very outset," said chair Martin Garcia.
The 56-year lifespan of the District ended during Gov. Ron DeSantis' battle with Disney over state rules regarding the role of gender in school lessons.
A report prepared for the new board has words like, "corruption," "bribery," and "deception."
"Disney used its enormous influence to defend and fortify the unprecedented government entitlements from which it as a company, exclusively benefited," said Garcia.
For instance, it says Disney treated district employees like Disney employees, by providing annual passes and steep discounts, benefits and perks that were "akin to bribes."
And it says Disney paid the property tax liabilities owed by many of the board of supervisors.
Therefore, it says Disney used a public agreement to prevent competition.
"Not only was there no way for a new business to enter the mix," the report says, "no mechanism existed to determine whether the district was receiving services at fair-market prices."
It also says Disney was never made to pay routine impact fees, meaning state taxpayers were deprived of $130,000,000 in transportation funding.
"When Central Florida residents sit in bumper to bumper traffic on I-4, they should know Disney bears significant blame."
Finally, it says Disney failed to build housing for its workers or ways for them to get to work efficiently.
"The Reedy Creek Act was a Pandora's box, a curse disguised in the form of a beautiful gift," said Garcia.
The board for the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District voted to accept the report's findings, and encouraged the legislature to pass additional reforms.
In a statement to FOX 13, Disney said:
"This report is an exercise in revisionist history. It is neither objective nor credible, and only seeks to advance CFTOD’s interests in its wasteful litigation that could derail investment within the district. Further, it does not change the fact that the CFTOD board was appointed by the governor to punish Disney for exercising its Constitutional right to free speech. This report also comes on the heels of numerous reports in the media which have raised legitimate concerns around the governance of the district under its new leadership. While the board may wish to undermine Disney’s ability to continue investing in the region, we are extremely proud of our impact on the Central Florida economy over the past half-century and we remain committed to maintaining the highest quality experience for the tens of millions of guests who visit Walt Disney World each year."