REFERRAL MADE TO INSPECTOR GENERAL REGARDING SCHEME TO FUNNEL MILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO DISNEY AS SEASON PASSES
Scheme that Funneled $2.5M Back to Disney Each Year Also Paid for Merchandise, Hotels, Cruises, and Food
Today, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has submitted a referral to the Florida Inspector General regarding millions of dollars’ worth of perks and benefits that the former Disney-controlled Reedy Creek Improvement District funneled back to Disney.
For decades, the former Disney-run RCID used taxpayer funds to provide season passes and amusement experiences to its employees and their family members, cover the cost of discounts on hotels, merchandise, food, and beverages, and give its own board members VIP Main Entrance passes. In 2022 alone, it cost taxpayers over $2.5 million.
In addition to constituting unethical benefits and perks, the scheme raises significant questions regarding self-dealing as the board members were only permitted a maximum of $100 per month in compensation per the Reedy Creek Improvement District Act.
The latest bill sent to CFTOD from Disney features a charge of $492,382.96 for “Q1 FY22 Tickets.” The scheme included the RCID government paying for “discounts” enjoyed by employees on all Disney purchases. Line items include government-paid handouts for “Merchandise Discount Usage” ($16,837.39), “Food & Beverage Discount Usage” ($4,969.52), and “Water Parks Discount Usage” ($3,764.48). It also includes employee handouts for hotel usage at the Disney Yacht Club Resort, Disney Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney Coronado Springs Resort. The bill can be viewed here.
Immediately upon discovering the scheme, the CFTOD set in motion plans to eliminate it. All CFTOD employees who require access to Disney premises to perform their official duties will still be able to access them.