TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis teased the possibility of erecting a new state prison near Walt Disney World’s Orlando resort while speaking Monday at an event in the park’s district.
While the news conference centered around DeSantis’ ongoing feud with the company, the governor took a moment to acknowledge the board’s control over district-owned land.
“If you look at this whole special district, Walt Disney Corporation obviously owns a lot of it but the district owns other land,” DeSantis said. “Quite frankly, I wasn’t even thinking about that land. This was not something that was really important one way or another, we just wanted them to live under the same rules, pay the debt, pay the taxes.”
When the question arose of what to do with the land, several ideas came to mind.
“People said maybe create a state park, maybe try to do more amusement parks,” DeSantis said. “Someone even said, ‘Maybe you need another state prison.’ Who knows? The possibilities are endless and that is now going to be analyzed to see what makes the most sense.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger has said that DeSantis’ decision to punish the company stems from the company’s vocal opposition to Florida’s Parental Right in Education Bill, which later became law. The measure limits classroom discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Seemingly in response, DeSantis stripped Disney’s control over its special taxing district, the Reedy Creek Improvement District, and appointed a new board to oversee it. But Disney quietly undermined the move, snatching away the new board’s powers and transferring them to Disney for the next 30 years.
On Monday, DeSantis said, “that’s not going to fly,” later citing several countermeasures the administration plans to pursue.