An attorney who was the first permanent employee at Walt Disney World and helped pave the legal way for the resort’s development has died.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Phil Smith died last week from complications from kidney disease. He was 83.
Smith came to Disney in 1965 as the company was secretly buying up more than 40 square miles of land in the Orlando area.
Disney’s Miami law firm connected the company with Smith, who at first didn’t know who he would be representing given the secretive nature of Disney’s land purchase.
Smith helped create the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Disney World’s private government that controls planning, building and emergency services.
Smith retired in the early 1990s as Disney’s senior vice president of administration and support.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.