On Tuesday (updated Wednesday), The Washington Examiner reported that U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga threw out the lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis filed to prevent the ending of the special deal between Disney World and Florida.
The article reports:
A federal judge tossed out a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) that sought to halt the dismantling of the Walt Disney World Resort’s Reedy Creek Improvement District.
U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga determined Tuesday that the federal court lacked standing because it was a state issue, the plaintiffs’ First Amendment arguments were flawed, and the lawsuit was premised on a piece of legislation that does not go into effect until July.
“In Count I, Plaintiffs allege that Senate Bill 4-C violates Florida’s Reedy Creek Improvement Act and ‘contractual obligations’ the state owes to Floridians,” Altonaga, a Bush appointee, wrote. “The Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ sole remaining claim for violation of Disney’s First Amendment rights. ‘[A] party generally may assert only his or her own rights and cannot raise the claims of third parties not before the court.'”
In the 1960s, Florida established RCID as a special district under the Reedy Creek Improvement Act. RCID is run by the landowners in the district, predominantly Disney, who oversee basic local government functions such as zoning, infrastructure, and building codes.
The lawsuit was filed last week by William Sanchez, a Democratic contender for Senate. Michael and Edward Foronda and Vivian Gorsky were listed as plaintiffs. The suit challenged a bill DeSantis signed last month stripping RCID of its special district status.
The article concludes:
In response to DeSantis signing the bill, RCID released a statement arguing that the state would be on the hook for its roughly $1 billion in outstanding debt — something DeSantis has disputed.
“In light of the State of Florida’s pledge to the District’s bondholders, Reedy Creek expects to explore its options while continuing its present operations, including levying and collecting its ad valorem taxes and collecting its utility revenues, paying debt service on its ad valorem tax bonds and utility revenue bonds, complying with its bond covenants and operating and maintaining its properties,” RCID said in a statement, per CNN.
It is quite possible that after all is said and done, the taxes of the people in the counties involved may decrease instead of increase. This is something to watch.