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Records shed new light on how DeSantis' migrant flights team tried to get around laws

Ron DeSantis
Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP
/
FR121174 AP
FILE - Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses attendees during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit on July 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.

Documents released this week by the aviation company that helped manage Florida’s $12 million migrant relocation program shed new light on behind-the-scenes dealings as the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis, working with the politically connected vendor, wriggled around a requirement that Florida use the money to export Florida migrants — not those living in some other state.

The records obtained by the Florida Center for Government Accountability show, among other revelations, that the president of Destin-based Vertol Systems Company, Inc. was not only on the plane when his company flew migrants out of Texas to Massachusetts on Sept. 14, but he and the governor’s “public safety czar,” Larry Keefe, were intimately involved in the plan to justify using Florida funds for the Texas covert op.

The flights carrying migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard made a 30-minute pit stop in the Panhandle town of Crestview. It was a convenient spot for Keefe, a former U.S. attorney and his former client in private practice, Vertol President James Montgomerie, who would be dropped off in the vicinity of their homes.

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.