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Disney may have legal grounds to defeat legislation passed by Florida Republicans to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which allows Walt Disney World to essentially self-govern itself—and experts say Disney could come out ahead even if litigation fails.

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In a statement to investors before Gov. Ron DeSantis enacted the law, which was conceived in retaliation to Disney’s opposition to the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Reedy Creek asserted that the effort to dissolve the district violates a provision in the law that first established it, which stipulates that the state can’t do anything to alter the district until it no longer has any bond debt.

Reedy Creek still has approximately $1 billion in debtand some of those bonds legally can’t be repaid until 2029, Florida attorney Jacob Schumer noted in an analysis for bloombergmeaning it likely can’t be dissolved for years until those debts are paid.

The special district is “explore[ing] its options while continuing its present operations” as a result, Reedy Creek said in the statement, which was first reported by WESH 2 on Sunday.

Florida law also specifies that special districts created through legislation—as Reedy Creek was—can only be dissolved if a majority of the district’s landowners approve it, which Disney, Reedy Creek’s majority landowner, has not done in this case.

Florida Republicans have repeatedly characterized the law dissolving Reedy Creek as punishment for Disney opposing HB 1557, known by critics as Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, so the company could also have First Amendment grounds to assert in court that lawmakers violated the company’s right to free speech by retaliating.

Disney has not yet responded to a request for comment about its next steps in the dispute.

Credit: www.forbes.com /

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