LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — A new book reveals that the Central Intelligence Agency helped Walt Disney and his operatives unlawfully purchase property in Florida to build Walt Disney World.
According to excerpts from T.D. Allman’s “Finding Florida” on The Daily Beast, Walt Disney and his operatives helped create two phantom cities by using a “puppet government” to control land use and public monies with the help of William “Wild Bill” Donovan – known as the “Father of the CIA” – and Paul Helliwell, Disney’s principal legal strategist who helped launch the CIA secret war in Indochina.
“Though no one lived there, Helliwell advised Disney to establish at least two phantom ‘cities,’ then use these fake governments to control land use and make sure the public monies the theme park generated stayed in Disney’s private hands,” Allman wrote. “On paper Disney World’s ‘cities’ would be regular American home towns—except their only official residents would be the handful of hand-picked Disney loyalists who periodically ‘elected’ the officials who, in turn, ceded complete control to Disney executives.”
Florida’s Legislature created the two cities in early 1967 named City of Bay Lake – which is Disney’s Magic Kingdom – and City of Buena Vista. Both these cities, according to the book, were unconstitutional, violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.
“In both ‘cities,’ in violation of both the U.S. and Florida Constitutions the Disney-engineered legislation established a property qualification for holding elective office, requiring that each candidate for office there ‘must be the owner, either directly or as a trustee, of real property situated in the City” in order “to be eligible to hold the office of councilman,’” Allman wrote.
Donovan’s attorneys at New York law firm Donovan, Leisure, Newton & Irvine reportedly set up fake identities for the Disney operatives in Florida, a secret communications center and also orchestrated a disinformation campaign to make sure land sellers had no idea they were dealing with Disney.
Walt Disney even admitted the cities were a farce a month before he died in December 1966.
“There would ‘be no landowners, and therefore no voter control,’ Disney responded, when asked how he planned to maintain control.”
The deal helped Disney purchase 40 square miles for under $200 an acre.