So much for moving on.
In the latest salvo between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Disney, the board members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District have accused their predecessors of using taxpayer funds to provide themselves with $2.5 million in “unethical benefits and perks,” mostly related to season passes and associated spending at Disney World. Per the current board, “The scheme included the RCID (Reedy Creek Improvement District) government paying for ‘discounts’ enjoyed by employees on all Disney purchases.”
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For decades, the Reedy Creek Improvement District, as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District was then known, acted as a local government for Disney World akin to a county, but mostly controlled by Disney. During that time, much of the district’s budget came from Disney though taxes the board imposed.
In a complaint to the state inspector general, the current CFTOD board charges that former officials paid for park-related perks with Reedy Creek money.
“For decades, the former Disney-run RCID used taxpayer funds to provide season passes and amusement experiences to its employees and their family members, cover the cost of discounts on hotels, merchandise, food, and beverages, and give its own board members VIP Main Entrance passes. In 2022 alone, it cost taxpayers over $2.5 million,” reads a statement from the CFTOD board.
The arrangement was allegedly self-serving for Disney because it funneled money back to the resort, with the district – and, by extension taxpayers – footing the bill.
“In addition to constituting unethical benefits and perks, the scheme raises significant questions regarding self-dealing as the board members were only permitted a maximum of $100 per month in compensation,” the statement continued.
The CFTOD board claims it discovered the spending when it was sent a $533, 522 bill by Disney for the most recent quarter’s “discounts.” The majority of the bill consists of a $492,382.96 charge for “Q1 FY22 Tickets.” Line items include a “Merchandise Discount Usage” of $16,837.39, “Food & Beverage Discount Usage” of $4,969.52 and “Water Parks Discount Usage” of $3,764.48. It also includes hotel usage at the Disney Yacht Club Resort, Disney Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney Coronado Springs Resort.
Deadline has reached out to Disney for comment.
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