Florida Taxpayers Sue DeSantis for Eliminating Disney’s Special District. This Lawyer Wants You to Join the Lawsuit.


Image via Shana Ford

By Giselle Balido

May 5, 2022

The lawyer, William Sanchez, who is running for the Senate against Marco Rubio in November, believes Gov. Ron DeSantis’ move to end Disney’s self-government will have a negative impact on Floridians.

William Sanchez is gearing up for one of the many fights of his life. That is because the Florida lawyer who is running to oust Sen. Marco Rubio in November has always been an advocate for the marginalized and society’s most vulnerable. 

But now, Sanchez, who was born in New York to Cuban immigrant parents, is fighting “to protect taxpayers in Florida.”  

In a David vs. Goliath move, the lifelong Democrat is representing three Floridians suing the Sunshine State. “We are calling for people to join so that we can represent a broad cross-section of Floridians. Although a few can represent a large class.”

Here’s why they are suing: When the Disney corporation refused to support Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits discussion of gender and sexual orientation in the classroom, DeSantis retaliated by moving to end Walt Disney World’s 55 years of self-government. Created in 1967 to encourage Disney to come to Florida, it allows the company to act as its own government. It even has its own building codes and taxing authority.

On April 22, the governor ​​signed the bill ending Disney’s self-government into law, meaning that the Reedy Creek Improvement District would be dissolved effective June 1, 2023. 

A ‘Catastrophic’ Impact

But DeSantis’ retaliation is more than a mere political game of thrones; his decision to “punish” the corporation will have a huge impact on hardworking Floridians, Sanchez told Floricua. 

And he is not alone in this assessment. Orange County officials have sounded the alarm to warn about the “catastrophic” impact the bill would have on the county’s budget. 

“If we had to take over the first response and public safety components for Reedy Creek with no new revenue, that would be catastrophic for our budget,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. “It would put an undue burden on the rest of the taxpayers in Orange County.” 

RELATED: William Sanchez: Fighting for the People

“Taxpayers living in the Orlando area will probably have a huge increase in taxes if Disney’s special district is dissolved. Many experts agree on that,” added Sanchez, who moved to Florida when he was 11 years old.

A Domino Effect

DeSantis’ retaliatory move would, in fact, create a domino effect that could adversely impact the state’s residents in many ways.

“If Disney is significantly hurt from this, there is talk about them leaving Florida, and that would be a huge loss of tens of thousands of jobs!” said Sanchez.

In fact, Disney employs more than 77,000 Floridians. It is also a major driver of tourism revenue for the state, with sales tax on Disney theme park tickets generating $409 million for the state in 2018 alone.

Additionally, Sanchez says that Florida’s credit rating to issue bonds could be devastated, hurting the economic health of all Floridians.

RELATED: Florida House’s Vote to Dissolve Disney’s Special District Could Raise Taxes for Residents

“The Disney special district issued bonds worth over $1 billion. The bond owners are nervous because their bonds will lose value if this battle between Disney and the state of Florida continues. As a result, less Wall Street investors will be interested in investing in bonds issued by cities and special districts in Florida,” Sanchez said.  

A Call to Action

Last, but certainly not least, Sanchez, a staunch defender of human rights, believes the state is being discriminatory “by trying to stop Disney and its executives from speaking in favor of the LGBTQ community!  That’s a clear First Amendment rights issue.”

“Through this lawsuit we hope to be a voice for all Floridians, especially the marginalized,” Sanchez said. 

In order to represent a broad cross-section of Floridians, Sanchez is calling for people to join the lawsuit. “It will not cost the people who join anything,” he said. People and law firms interested in joining can contact Sanchez at 305-232-8889. 



  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



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