Disney Brings In The Thug Lawyers To Squeeze Property Tax Breaks From Florida Taxpayers
It’s that time of year again. Disney has brought in the thug lawyers again. The mega-entertainment company has filed its annual lawsuit against Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh. Disney again wants to fight the property tax bills of its Florida theme parks. They say their property taxes are too high.
The company filed 12 lawsuits this week against Singh. They are claiming the county’s tax assessment of its Orlando-area properties was too high. The properties include all the parks attached to Disney World. The Orlando Sentinel says that Disney has sued Singh over tax assessments every year since 2016.
Disney didn’t provide an alternate assessment figure for the properties in the suits. However, they described the assessments from Orange County “excessive.”
The company also accused him of not following professionally accepted appraisal practices.
Disney lawyers said in one court document that the assessments exceed the market value of the properties.
Orange County Property Appraiser spokesperson Beth Watson said that the appraisals were correct. The Orange County Property Appraiser’s Office also stated that Disney properties had been undervalued for decades by previous property appraisers.
She defended Singh by saying:
Under the leadership of Rick Singh, the Orange County Property Appraiser’s Office is fair and equitable to everyone, and the team of appraisers and analysts who determine the values use professionally accepted appraisal practices with impeccable accuracy.
The suits include some of the county’s assessments of Disney’s vast Orange County real estate holdings. Singh valued the Magic Kingdom at $504 million, but Epcot edged it out at $539 million.
The Orange County Property Appraiser’s Office assessed the value of Hollywood Studios at $394 million. The county assessed the Animal Kingdom at $435 million.
Does Disney Really Want A Tax Break Because Of The COVID-19 Pandemic?
The parks are set to open in mid-July. However, the company has already taken a massive financial hit from shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Company executives estimated in early May that the company could lose as much as $1.4 billion in the second quarter alone.