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Ron DeSantis threatens to build prison next to Disney World as he continues vendetta against company

Florida governor has been feuding with the company after it publicly opposed the state’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Monday 17 April 2023 23:07 BST
Florida Gov DeSantis floats higher taxes on Disney, possible prison construction next door

Florida governor Ron DeSantis threatened to build a prison next to Disney World in his latest attempt to retaliate against the theme park giant.

Mr DeSantis has been feuding with the company after it publicly opposed the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay Bill” and pushed through legislation to remove Disney’s self-governing status. But he was left embarrassed when the company found a way to sidestep the law shortly before it took effect.

Mr DeSantis told reporters in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, where Disney is located, that he was looking into construction projects on 40 acres of state land next to Disney.

“People have said maybe create a state park, maybe try to do more amusement parks. Somebody even said, maybe you need another state prison, who knows? I just think that the possibilities are endless,” Mr DeSantis said on Monday.

Mr DeSantis has been set on removing Disney’s self-governing privilege, which is not enjoyed by rivals such as Sea World and Universal Studios.

This means that Disney, unlike its rivals, does not have to pass its plans through building inspection departments or zoning commissions.

“If these are not good laws, then everyone should be exempt,” Mr DeSantis said. “You shouldn’t just say one corporation should be exempt.”

In February, before picks by Mr DeSantis could be seated on a new board, their predecessors passed an agreement giving full developmental control to Disney.

“They negotiated with themselves, to give themselves the ability to maintain their self-governing status. Now that’s in direct defiance of the will of the people of Florida,” added Mr DeSantis.

“They thought that they could create some type of development agreements that would essentially render everything that we did null and void and put them in control in perpetuity for this. Well, that’s not going to work.”

He also announced new legislation that would revoke Disney’s deal to get around the state board, and require safety inspections for Disney’s buildings and transportation.

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