Group Sues DeSantis Over Migrant Flight Records

Group Sues DeSantis Over Migrant Flight Records

By Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

An open-government group Monday filed a lawsuit seeking to force Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration to release additional records about a controversial decision last month to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

The Florida Center for Government Accountability filed the lawsuit in Leon County circuit court and alleged that the governor’s office did not comply with requests to release a series of records about the flights.

Among other things, the group sought records, phone logs or text logs that could show communications by DeSantis Chief of Staff James Uthmeier about the flights, according to the lawsuit. Also, it sought any records that would show communications with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office about relocating migrants.

The lawsuit said the DeSantis administration provided records Friday but that they were not “responsive” to requests made Sept. 20 and Sept. 21 under Florida’s public-records law.

“None of the records produced by defendants are records sent or received by the EOG (Executive Office of the Governor) or governor,” the lawsuit, filed by Sarasota attorney Andrea Flynn Mogensen and Tampa attorney Matthew Farmer, said. “None of the records are within the timeframe of records sought in the first or second requests.”

The lawsuit said the DeSantis administration provided records that had been “sent to or received from another agency.” It did not detail those records, but the administration released documents Friday to the Miami Herald and other news organizations involving the Florida Department of Transportation, which helped carry out the flights.

In an email attached to the lawsuit, the governor’s office described the documents released Friday as the “first production” of records.

“The Office of Open Government (in the governor’s office) has been working to retrieve, review and produce documents responsive to the many public records requests we have received regarding the flights to Martha’s Vineyard,” the email from the office said. “In an effort to produce documents more efficiently, this office is retrieving, reviewing and producing any documents related to the aforementioned flights.”

The two flights of migrants drew national attention and came as DeSantis regularly criticizes the Biden administration on border policy and the handling of undocumented immigrants. DeSantis and other Republicans also have heavily criticized “sanctuary” communities, such as Martha’s Vineyard.

The flights of about 50 people, mostly Venezuelans, started in San Antonio, Texas, stopped at an airport in the Northwest Florida community of Crestview and then headed north to Martha’s Vineyard. The DeSantis administration tapped into $12 million that the Legislature provided to transport undocumented immigrants from Florida — though part of the controversy has centered on the migrant flights originating in Texas.

Sen. Jason Pizzo, D-North Miami Beach, has filed a lawsuit in Leon County circuit court, alleging the DeSantis administration violated the state Constitution and a separate law. Meanwhile, lawyers representing some asylum seekers flown to Massachusetts filed a potential class-action lawsuit against DeSantis, Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue and unidentified people who helped recruit the immigrants in Texas.

7 Responses to "Group Sues DeSantis Over Migrant Flight Records"

  1. What a disgrace. It’s hilarious to watch the GOPers pile on to Andrew Gillium for petty violations, but let DeSantis constantly run roughshod over the law.

    Reportedly, at least, some of the migrants were documented and here legally. And DeSantis apparently used Florida taxpayer money to pay one of his contacts to lure these perfectly legal people to go to another state under false pretenses that they would have jobs waiting for them. As the lawyers quoted in some sources have said, this may amount to “human trafficking.”

    As usual, the Republican voters are absolutely blind to just the most incredible crimes of the GOP. That includes Rick Scott, whose company was convicted of stealing over a billion taxpayer dollars from Medicare; Trump’s almost daily violations, including Jan. 6th, and whatever DeSantis wants to do–from eliminating minority voting districts to firing anyone who doesn’t agree with his nonsense laws and now this, too.

    Start voting for people who are interested in being good public servants. Not these people.

  2. In spite of spiteful Tallahassee Dims Gov. Desantis wins re-election in a landslide. Even the snow-birds who have lived under poor Dim leadership love him.

  3. The left see this filing as a well beyond the midterms voter opinion manipulater.
    The leftist hopes are they get lucky with the case being assigned to one of our circuit Black Robes who is sympathic with all things leftist (odds are that will happen).
    Next leftist hopes and dreams involve the case moving up to Federal Fake Judge and Real Time Full Time Leftist Tool judge Hinkle (FYI the lower case “j” in Judge Hinkle above was intentional).
    And then…well beyond that the leftists filing the action really dont care because it’s just being done as a political voter opinion manipulation tactic anyway…so the leftist hopes are to drag it out for their fake news to pump the action for as long as possable.
    (Of course Desantis 100% knew this would happen prior to planning the flight to Martha’s Vineyard.)

  4. Energy is expended on ridiculousness…

    Request the records on Kamala Harris’s daily schedule to see what she does instead of securing the Border.

    Request the records at the FBI related to Hunter Biden to see how they shuffled them under the rug.

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