Gov. DeSantis appeals ruling demanding phone logs on Martha’s Vineyard flights
Image via AP.

Martha's Vineyard AP
The Governor has spent more than $1.5M to charter planes carrying migrants from the border.

Gov. Ron DeSantis will fight a ruling that he must turn over communications about flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.

Leon Circuit Judge Lee Marsh last week ordered the DeSantis administration to provide all records to the Florida Center for Government Accountability. But filing a notice of appeal with the First District Court of Appeal triggers a 48-hour stay on the ruling, delaying the need to comply with a Nov. 14 deadline.

Already, the promise of any provided records need not be met before the Nov. 8 General Election, where DeSantis is running for re-election against Democrat Charlie Crist.

DeSantis on Sept. 14 chartered a plane with taxpayer dollars to fly more than 30 migrants, mostly Venezuelan refugees, from the Southwest border in Texas up to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Critics immediately decried the flight as a “shameful political stunt.”

Documents the administration has released show the state has paid $1.56 million to Destin-based Vertol Systems for that flight and possibly a second one to President Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware.

The Florida Center, led by public records advocate Michael Barfield, earlier this month argued in a lawsuit that all communication leading to the decision, including text messages and text and phone logs, should be public record.

Barfield called the appeal “puzzling.”

“Why does the Governor want to waste taxpayer’s money to avoid transparency?” Barfield said. “Public records belong to the public. The Governor is not above the law.”

Marsh agreed, writing in an order that state law “requires an agency to preserve all records responsive to a records request.”

The order also takes issue with information blacked out in documents provided by the state, and said the state provided no statutory explanation for redacting portions.

Attorneys for the state issued no reason for seeking its appeal.

DeSantis of note has in conservative press justified his use of a fund for the voluntary transport of migrants to sanctuary jurisdictions. Most recently, he said Martha’s Vineyard brought on the flights in their own advertising that refugees were welcome.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Impeach Biden

    November 1, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    While we are at it can we get the records, phone calls, transcripts, etc of all the Air Biden trips made since he took down the Southern Border?

    • marylou

      November 1, 2022 at 2:28 pm

      That’s not working. Time for Republicans to start making up garbage about how it’s OK for Desantis to hide communications, so it doesn’t prove anything!

  • Linwood Wright

    November 1, 2022 at 2:44 pm

    DeSantis obviously has something to hide. He’s a criminal after-all.

  • Yrral

    November 1, 2022 at 3:10 pm

    A Bexar County Grand Jury will be soon hearing from Desantis Google Desantis Bexar County Texas Grand Jury

  • Juanita Mendoza

    November 1, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    DeSantis men grabbed our breasts and genitals before we boarded the plane. We were also slapped while they screamed vulgar obscenities at us.

  • Jane

    November 1, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    They’ll get all the public records they may seek after the red wave next Tuesday’ — which may be used by opposition research two years from now.

    • marylou

      November 3, 2022 at 11:22 am

      Right, hide the truth from voters until after the election! Being dishonest about his actions and plans is the only way Ron has a chance of being re-elected. Republicans are gloating about this? It’s disgusting–something Republicans would immediately realize if a Democrat did it.

Comments are closed.


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