The Florida Center for Government Accountability (FLCGA) on Oct. 10 filed a lawsuit to compel release of public records concerning the two charter flights ordered by Governor Ron DeSantis that transported 48 migrants from San Antonio, Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
“We don’t believe the Governor’s Office responded in good faith to our records request. Not a single record that we actually requested has been produced,” said Michael Barfield, FLCGA’s Public Access Program Director, after filing the lawsuit. “The public’s right to know is more important than the Governor’s desire to dole out misinformation. The Governor has a constitutional duty to provide information to the citizens of the state of Florida. When his office fails to do so, we will seek judicial relief to vindicate the public’s constitutional right to know.”
On Sept. 14, 2022, the Executive Office of the Governor (EOG) arranged for two charter flights to transport a group of migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. Based on news reports, we know that in the days leading up to the flights, the migrants were housed at hotels, given gift certificates, promised jobs, asked to sign waiver forms, and then given brochures containing misleading information about the availability of services on the island off the coast of Massachusetts.
In response to the migrant flights, FLCGA made a written public records request of the EOG on September 20, seeking records that would shed light on the flights, including text and phone logs, records exchanged with the company contracted to set up the flights and copies of waivers signed by the migrants.
After FLCGA sent a second request for information, the EOG released some records on October 7 that were not responsive to FLCGA’s public records request
FLCGA has requested the Court to set an immediate hearing and prioritize this lawsuit over other pending cases.
Follow FLCGA on Facebook and Twitter for more information.