Walt Disney’s Disney World has been the center of attention for more than just magical entertainment with its recent audit report being uncovered by independent auditors. The report comes after the company’s steep trail of deception and secrecy from the time of its establishment in 1966. According to the audit report, obtained by The Daily Wire, the company has used its power and control over the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) to extract “maximized profits at the expense of the public good.”
The audit, which was commissioned by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, revealed that Disney had full control over the RCID, leading to a “complete and unaccountable governmental power” structure. According to the report, Disney took advantage of the district’s system, which was established for them in order to make a city around a single theme park. However, Disney’s true intentions were to build the modern Disney World, which includes several theme parks, four golf courses, and dozens of hotels, with no housing or community services provided to the public.
One of the auditors, George Mason Law School Professor Donald Kochan, stated that Disney used “a bait and switch” tactic to gain control of the district, and had no intention of fulfilling their promises of affordable housing and transportation. The report exposes Disney’s true motives, stating that the company did not want any long-term residents in the district, as it would threaten their control and interests.
🚨 NEW: “Disney secured the ability to effectively govern itself in Florida by performing a ‘bait and switch’ on the state, and used its ‘complete and unaccountable governmental power” to ‘maximize its profits’ at ‘the expense of the public good’…”https://t.co/RwQpJBdx2N
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Furthermore, the audit report uncovered various instances of corruption and shady dealings within the district. Disney hand-picked government officials and provided them with perks such as free annual passes for themselves and their families, and steep discounts on products and services. These perks were deemed “improper” payments and were categorized as “financial and administrative services” in recent years. It was also found that the district failed to include these benefits as taxable income to the IRS, despite being brought up by employees.
The report also revealed that the district’s employees were treated with lavish spending and gifts amounting to $166,000 in just 15 months. These included celebrations, sports tickets, memberships, and other events, with significant spending on entertainment and golf. The auditors deemed these actions as “akin to bribes of public officials” when coming from Disney.
The audit also shed light on the impact of Disney’s control over the district on the surrounding communities. With no workforce housing, schools, or hospitals in the district, the burden of providing these services fell on the surrounding communities, who are left to bear the costs of supporting Disney’s massive workforce.
Despite positive impacts on the region, the audit concludes that Disney’s actions have been “disastrous for the surrounding communities of Central Florida.” The legislation, which eliminated the RCID, mandates that the audit be completed within a year of its passing. However, Democratic lawmakers have recently introduced legislation to restore the district, citing a lack of transparency in the new governing structure. According to the auditors, Disney’s fight to keep its control over the district is not surprising, as the company has grown on “gigantic portions of exemptions and privileges” and will not easily give them up.