UNITED STATES NEWS

Florida ethics commission chair can’t work simultaneously for Disney World governing district

Aug 18, 2023, 10:48 AM

The chair of Florida’s ethics commission has an ethics problem, but it’s due to working at The Mouse rather than being a rat.

Glen Gilzean, the new administrator of Walt Disney World’s governing district, can’t continue to work in his new job and chair the Florida Commission on Ethics at the same time since Florida law prohibits public employees from serving as members on the commission, according to a legal opinion issued Thursday.

The ethics commission is charged with setting the standards of conduct for public employees and public officeholders in Florida, and it investigates complaints of violations.

Gilzean is an ally of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and was selected to the position in May by DeSantis’ appointees who took control of the governing district’s board. The takeover was in retaliation for Disney’s public opposition to the “ Don’t Say Gay ” legislation championed by DeSantis and Republican lawmakers.

Members on the ethics commission don’t earn a salary. Gilzean earns an annual salary of $400,000 as the administrator of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

Gilzean had asked the ethics commission’s lawyer to issue an opinion on whether it was kosher to hold both positions. The district is a taxing district and a political subdivision of the state of Florida, making Gilzean a public employee, according to the opinion from Steven Zuilkowski, the commission’s general counsel.

“Maintaining the public employment is inconsistent with the requirements” of being a commission member, the opinion said.

An email seeking comment was sent Friday to Gilzean and a spokesperson for the district.

A fight between DeSantis and Disney began last year after the company, facing significant pressure internally and externally, publicly opposed a state law banning classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades.

As punishment, DeSantis took over the district through legislation passed by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature and appointed a new board of supervisors to oversee municipal services for the sprawling theme parks and hotels. But the new supervisors’ authority over design and construction has been limited by the company’s agreements with Disney-supporting predecessors, which were signed before the new board took over.

In response, Florida lawmakers passed legislation that repealed those agreements.

Disney has sued DeSantis in federal court claiming the governor violated the company’s free speech rights. The district has sued Disney in state court, seeking to nullify the agreements.

The district asked this week for a judge to rule in its favor without a need for a trial. Disney on Thursday filed a counter-claim asking the judge for the same thing, except in the company’s favor.

“Disney faces concrete, imminent, and ongoing injury as a result of the contractual impairment,” Disney said in a court filing.

___

Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at @MikeSchneiderAP

United States News

Brattleboro Union High School students register to vote during a voter drive at the school, Feb. 14...

Associated Press

What to know about Super Tuesday and why it matters

It’s almost Super Tuesday when voters in 16 states and one territory will cast their ballots in the 2024 presidential primaries.

2 minutes ago

Associated Press

Air Force employee charged with sharing classified info on Russia’s war with Ukraine on dating site

WASHINGTON (AP) — A civilian U.S. Air Force employee has been charged in federal court in Nebraska with transmitting classified information about Russia’s war with Ukraine on a foreign online dating platform, the Justice Department said Monday. David Franklin Slater, 63, who authorities say retired as an Army lieutenant colonel and was assigned to the […]

48 minutes ago

FILE - Lawyer Kenneth Chesebro is sworn in during a plea deal hearing, Oct. 20, 2023, at the Fulton...

Associated Press

Takeaways from the Wisconsin 2020 fake electors lawsuit settlement

More than 1,400 pages of emails, text messages and other documents released Monday reveal details of a strategy by Republican operatives tied to then-President Donald Trump to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Wisconsin. The documents — settling a civil lawsuit filed against two attorneys and 10 Wisconsin Republicans who posed as fake electors — […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

A judge orders prison for a Michigan man who made threats against Jewish people

A 20-year-old Michigan man who admitted using social media to make violent threats against Jewish people was sentenced Monday to a year and a day in prison, far short of what prosecutors had recommended. A sentence exceeding a year makes someone eligible for good conduct credits and a shorter stay in federal custody. Seann Pietila, […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Falls from US-Mexico border wall in San Diego hospitalize 10 in a day

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Eleven people were hurt over the weekend while trying to climb over a wall that separates Mexico and the United States and falling on the San Diego side, the latest such injuries since the wall was heightened to deter illegal crossings. Ten people ranging in age from 18 to mid-40s were […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Venus flytrap poachers face arrest warrants in taking of hundreds of rare plant

BOILING SPRING LAKES, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina have obtained arrest warrants for two people in a poaching case involving hundreds of Venus flytraps, which grow naturally in the eastern part of the state. Officers with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission obtained arrest warrants for two people accused of stealing nearly 600 […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Florida ethics commission chair can’t work simultaneously for Disney World governing district