Via the Daily Beast, T.D. Allman explains how top CIA alumni helped Disney buy up large swathes of South Florida land in secretive fashion and create its own private cities and quasi-government:
Disney’s key contact was the consummate cloak-and-dagger operator, William “Wild Bill” Donovan. Sometimes called the “Father of the C.I.A,” he was also the founding partner of Donovan, Leisure, Newton & Irvine, a New York law firm whose attorneys included future C.I.A. director William Casey.
In order to maintain “control over the overall development,” Disney and his advisers realized, “the company would have to find a way to limit the voting power of the private residents.” Here again the CIA was there to help. Disney’s principal legal strategist for Florida was a senior clandestine operative named Paul Helliwell. Helliwell came up with the approach that to this day allows the Disney organization to avoid taxation and environmental regulation as well as maintain immunity from the U.S. Constitution.
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. 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.
In early 1967, the Florida legislature created Hallowell’s two “cities,” both named for the artificial reservoirs Disney engineers created by obstructing the area’s natural water flow. When you visit Disney’s Magic Kingdom, you are visiting the City of Bay Lake, Florida. The other was the City of Lake Buena Vista.
By turning the State of Florida and its statutes into their enablers, Disney and his successors pioneered a business model based on public subsidy of private profit coupled with corporate immunity from the laws, regulations, and taxes imposed on actual people that now increasingly characterizes the economy of the United States.