Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office refutes Disney subpoena reports

by | Oct 2, 2023


  • The Office of Gov. Ron DeSantis denied on Monday receiving subpoenas related to the legal battle with Disney over the takeover of the company’s special district.
  • The Associated Press reported this weekend that Disney’s lawyers requested access from The Executive Office of the Governor to internal communications and documents related to the district’s control shift to DeSantis, with a reported subpoena deadline of October 27.
  • Other special districts in Florida, including the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, confirmed receiving subpoenas from Disney and described some of the requests as “overbroad” and “improper fishing expeditions.”

The Office of Gov. Ron DeSantis denied on Monday that it was issued a series of subpoenas as part of the ongoing legal battle between DeSantis and Disney, despite reports claiming so.

According to an article published by The Associated Press (AP) this weekend, lawyers representing Disney requested access to documents outlining any information or lines of communications pertaining to DeSantis’ takeover of the company’s special district earlier this year.

“Disney sent a notice to DeSantis’ office demanding internal communications, including text messages and emails, and documents regarding the district’s comprehensive plan, the development agreements, and the legislation that shifted control of the district to DeSantis,” AP reported on Saturday. “The notice said a subpoena would be issued requiring the governor’s office to turn over the materials to Disney’s attorneys by Oct. 27.”

Upon outreach to the Governor’s Office, however, the report was immediately disputed, with the assertion that no such issuances had been received at any point.

“As of this morning, we have not been served with any such subpoena,” DeSantis Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern told The Capitolist, later reaffirming “As I said early [sic], we’ve yet to be served with any such subpoena.”

The AP article also mentions that Disney’s lawyers sent additional subpoenas to certain special districts across the state, imposing a deadline of October 27 for all involved parties to provide the requested materials.

“The Disney attorneys also sent notices of subpoenas to others, including similar special districts in Florida,” the article reads. “Disney wants to show that the manner in which it gave public notice about the agreements which stripped the DeSantis allies of design and construction powers was consistent with what other districts do.”

The report does appear to indicate that the Central Florida Torusim Oversight District (CFTOD), formerly known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, confirmed that it received several subpoenas, referring to them as “overbroad.”

“In response to the demand for communications and documents, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District said that some of Disney’s requests were “overbroad, unduly oppressive, and an improper fishing expedition,” AP wrote.

The Capitolist attempted to reach The Walt Disney Company’s communication team, but did not receive a response.

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