Walt Disney Co. has remained relatively silent as lawmakers have debated (and ultimately signed off on the demise of) their long-held independent government in Reedy Creek.
That ended earlier this week with a note to bondholders from the district. Reedy Creek leaders noted that the district could not be dissolved without Florida paying back all of the district’s outstanding debt.
In their message, they pointed to the 1967 law creating the special district, which said the state “will not in any way impair the rights or remedies of the holders … until all such bonds together with interest thereon, and all costs and expenses in connection with any act or proceeding by or on behalf of such holders, are fully met and discharged.” In other words, if Florida wants to get rid of Reedy Creek, it has to pay back all its bondholders first.
Since Florida shows no signs of doing that in the immediate future, Disney plans to continue to operate as if Reedy Creek is a fixture.
“In light of the State of Florida’s pledge to the District’s bondholders, Reedy Creek expects to explore its options while continuing its present operations, including levying and collecting its ad valorem taxes and collecting its utility revenues, paying debt service on its ad valorem tax bonds and utility revenue bonds, complying with its bond covenants and operating and maintaining its properties,” they shared.
Disney has rarely been vocal throughout their entire tiff with state Republicans. The company initially tried to work behind the scenes to stall a controversial, anti-LGBTQ bill. This drew the ire of both sides, who felt either that Disney should mind their business or that the company didn’t go far enough to protect LGBTQ workers.
When walkouts were planned, Disney offered a quick note respecting workers’ rights to protest. They also halted all political donations in the state of Florida in the wake of intense scrutiny of their contributions. This relatively tame reaction led the governor to call the company a puppet of the Communist Party of China. State leaders followed that up with a series of laws meant to punish Disney for (barely) speaking out, including the planned dissolution of their special district.
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