A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over the dissolution of the Walt Disney Company’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, a 25,000-acre self-governing area in the state’s Orange and Osceola counties.
The lawsuit was filed by William Sanchez last week on behalf of three Orange and Osceola County residents. Sanchez is a Miami lawyer and Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.
The plaintiffs named in the lawsuit—Michael and Edward Foronda, of Kissimmee, and Vivian Gorsky of Orange County—said the dissolution of Reedy Creek violated a state law called the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
And added the legal action also breached a contractual obligation with Reedy Creek’s bondholders and Disney’s First Amendment rights.
DeSantis was listed as a defendant, along with Secretary of State Laurel Lee and Jim Zingale, executive director of the Florida Department of Revenue.
U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia Altonaga, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote in her order that the suit was dismissed for several reasons, including the “federal court’s lack of standing over state issues” and because the “law does not go into effect until July 2023.”
Altonaga wrote that the three plaintiffs named in the lawsuit, “do not plausibly allege they have suffered any concrete injury as a result of the alleged violation of Disney’s First Amendment rights, and nothing in the complaint shows plaintiffs have a close relationship with Disney.”
She continued, “The new law does not apply to them, they do not allege direct harm as a result of the challenged law, and they do not plausibly allege any credible threat of direct harm in the future.”
The plaintiffs’ claim to stand in the case, she said, was that the dissolution of the district “might result in financial harm to plaintiffs by virtue of a tax increase that has not yet been enacted and that indirect and highly speculative alleged injury cannot support federal jurisdiction.
“Again, it is worth emphasizing—the bill does not apply to plaintiffs at all.”
In a written statement, Sanchez said that he will refile on behalf of the plaintiffs by May 16.
“This is just the beginning of the battle, as we are attempting to achieve justice for Florida taxpayers,” Sanchez wrote in his statement.
The law that took away Disney’s self-governing district was signed in April by DeSantis.
Critics have alleged that the law that was enacted is in ret…