In response to public records requests, including those filed by American Oversight, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office on Monday released 87 pages of records related to its September flights transporting nearly 50 undocumented immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.
The records contain the text messages of the Florida officials and contractors who arranged the political stunt, including Larry Keefe, DeSantis’ public safety czar, and Perla Huerta, who reportedly recruited the migrants and appears to have played a major role in coordinating the flights. Another person appears only as “Kiwi” in the texts, though messages referring to them as “James” indicate this is potentially James Uthmeier, DeSantis’ chief of staff.
On Sept. 9, about five days before the flights, James Montgomerie — the CEO of flight contractor Vertol Systems Company — texted Keefe, “Larry, we could certainly do Delaware, Friday or Saturday next week, 50 pax easily,” referring to plans to send additional flights to Delaware and other states. Over the next couple of days, Montgomerie texted about the efforts to recruit migrants for the flights: “The network has grown exponentially! We believe we could probably generate another 50 [migrants] inside 48 hours.”
Previously, we obtained documents that pointed to DeSantis’ office having potentially been in contact with Texas Gov. Abbott’s office about the flights. The records released tonight include an August message in which Keefe appears to have been given the contact information for an official in the Texas Department of Emergency Management, the agency tasked with heading that state’s migrant busing program. Additionally, another message from that same day references Huerta and Keefe having met with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
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