The Disney federal lawsuit against Florida and its Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has been whittled down to just a complaint alleging the company’s free speech rights were trampled.
The lawsuit originally claimed Florida “breached the company’s contractual rights, took property without compensation and violated its due process rights over a special tax district that includes Disney World,” according to a report by Bloomberg News.
The scaled down legal action cut the size of its court filing from 84 to 48 pages, according to a CNBC report.
“The governor welcomes Disney’s surrender on all of its claims challenging his legislative acts,” a spokesperson for DeSantis responded to the amended filing.
Disney lawyers claim the lawsuit’s scope was reduced because the dropped issues are currently being addressed in a separate state-level lawsuit, according to a report from The Daily Wire.
Disney representatives reportedly remain committed to defending its contracts.
“We will continue to fight vigorously to defend these contracts, because these agreements will determine whether or not Disney can invest billions of dollars and generate thousands of new jobs in Florida,” a representative of the company told CNBC.
Disney claimed its decision to halt construction of a billion-dollar office complex was due to “changing business conditions,” in an apparent tit-for-tat response to Florida’s elimination of special treatment it enjoyed since 1967.
Florida’s legislative creation of the Reedy Creek Improvement District in 1967 effectively granted the California-based entertainment company governing authority for its 25,000-acre parcel of Florida land near Orlando.
After Disney weighed in on the debate over a state law prohibiting education about sex or gender for children in grades K-3, DeSantis took a hard look at the company.
He noted the advantage Disney had over all other Florida corporations by running the RCID, which allowed them to determine tax and regulations for their chunk of real estate in the Sunshine State.
DeSantis asked the Legislature to dissolve the RCID and replace it with a governing structure more in line with the rest of the state. Disney, obviously, vigorously opposed the measure that would remove financial advantage.
The company announced its decision to hold off on building a new corporate campus in the state, which would have housed transplants from its California headquarters. It suggested the move was DeSantis’ fault.
“Given the considerable changes that have occurred since the announcement of this project, including new leadership and changing business conditions, we have decided not to move forward with construction of the campus,” said Disney’s theme park chairman Josh D’Amaro.
“This was not an easy decision to make, but I believe it is the right one.”
Business analysts noted, though, that the company was experiencing financial issues that prompted layoffs and cutbacks. They opined that canceling new construction was more likely an economic decision.
Disney had to let go of 4,000 employees, with more layoffs anticipated due to financial constraints, the Daily Wire noted. The company has portrayed itself as a target of “a targeted campaign of government retaliation.”
“Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people, and pay more taxes, or not?” asked Disney CEO Bob Iger, during an earnings call.
Despite the ongoing feud, D’Amaro reassured that Disney still intends to invest $17 billion in Walt Disney World, aiming to create 13,000 jobs in the upcoming decade.