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The head of Disney World's special district leaves Florida's ethics panel

A sign near the entrance of the Reedy Creek Improvement District administration building is seen Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in Lake Buena Vista. Disney’s government in Florida was the envy of any private business, giving it unprecedented powers in deciding what and how to build at Walt Disney World. Those days are numbered as a new bill released in early February 2023 puts the entertainment giant’s district firmly in the control of Florida’s governor and legislative leaders.
John Raoux
/
AP
A sign near the entrance of the Reedy Creek Improvement District administration building is seen Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in Lake Buena Vista. Disney’s government in Florida was the envy of any private business, giving it unprecedented powers in deciding what and how to build at Walt Disney World. Those days are numbered as a new bill released in early February 2023 puts the entertainment giant’s district firmly in the control of Florida’s governor and legislative leaders.

Glen Gilzean stepped down Tuesday as chairman of the Florida Commission on Ethics, while maintaining his $400,0000-a-year job as administrator of a revamped special district that includes Walt Disney World properties.

Glen Gilzean stepped down Tuesday as chairman of the Florida Commission on Ethics, while maintaining his $400,0000-a-year job as administrator of a revamped special district that includes Walt Disney World properties.

In a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office, Gilzean said after reviewing the matter with legal counsel, “prudence dictates that I discontinue serving in one of the two positions. Therefore, I respectfully tender my resignation from the Florida Commission on Ethics, effective immediately."

Last week, commission lawyer Steve Zuilkowski wrote it would be “inconsistent” with state law for Gilzean to maintain his position as administrator of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District while serving on the commission. Gilzean had requested an opinion on holding the dual positions through the June 2024 end of his term on the commission.

Gilzean was first appointed to an unpaid seat on the commission in 2019 and was reappointed by DeSantis in 2022. In May, Gilzean was appointed as administrator of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

The move came after lawmakers and DeSantis replaced the former Reedy Creek Improvement District with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. The former Reedy Creek district was created in the 1960s and was closely tied to Disney.

But it was replaced after DeSantis and Disney clashed about the company’s opposition to a 2022 law that restricts instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida schools.

The Ethics Commission next meets on Sept. 8. Former Senate President Don Gaetz has been vice chairman of the commission.