American Oversight Obtains DeSantis Migrant Flight Contract Records

American Oversight has obtained contract documents for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Sept. 14 flight transporting migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. The records include memos outlining flight costs, requisition and purchase order documents, and the approval of advance payment by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to flight contractor Vertol Systems Company.

American Oversight obtained the files from FDOT in response to a public records request submitted in mid-September as part of the watchdog group’s investigation into DeSantis’ exploitation of migrants as part of a political stunt.

The records include two memos — dated Aug. 2 and Sept. 6 — from VSC owner James Montgomerie to Paul Baker, the FDOT purchasing administrator, outlining the terms and costs of the flight service.

The August memo proposes that VSC will “provide chartered flight services to out-of-state locations designated by FDOT, within the 48 contiguous states or the District of Columbia,” adding that VSC agrees to provide these services within 48 hours of receipt of request from FDOT.

The September memo expands on this, stating that “VSC proposes to provide FDOT transportation-related, and humanitarian relocation services to implement a program to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens,” and outlining specific prices:

Up to 8 Passengers: $325,000 per flight
Up to 25 Passengers: $485,000 per flight
Up to 65 Passengers: $625,000 per flight

The memo also describes the flight that ultimately took place just over a week later:

This first Project (hereafter “Project 1”), shall involve the facilitation of the relocation of up to fifty (50) individuals to the State of Massachusetts or other, proximate northeastern state designated by FDOT based upon the extant conditions.

The documents obtained by American Oversight also include the internal correspondence between Florida state officials seeking formal approval of the prepayment of $615,000 to VSC.

A Sept. 7 memo from FDOT specifies that the relocation program will run from the “period current through 6/30/2023,” and that the transportation services provided by VSC “shall be ongoing, on a month-to-month basis.”

View the documents below:

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