A woman who is part of a group of immigrants that the Florida governor flew to Martha’s Vineyards. DeSantis holding a child feeding outside the Anglican Church of St Andrews in Edgartown, Massachusetts. Ray Ewing AP Top is Assistant Governor. Public records released late Friday show that Ron DeSantis played a key role in planning and executing Florida’s controversial immigrant flight program. Although the program was conducted by a private contractor, new records show that DeSantis’ public safety chief Larry Keefe and his chief of staff James Uthmeier were deeply involved in the operation that led to at least one criminal investigation. Separate US Treasury Investigations and Multiple Litigation – Increase your exposure to various ongoing investigations. Keefe wrote to Uthmeier in a text message on September 8, “The current plan is for the event to happen next Wednesday… it will be more accurate as the event approaches for ETA.” “There is no good news between now and in between. Otherwise, we will let you know.” The two were discussing a charter flight that would pay Florida taxpayers the money of about 50 immigrants moving from San Antonio, Texas on September 14 to Vineyard Island in Massachusetts, Massachusetts. Records show that Kiff traveled to: Martha’s Vineyard, Texas, who oversees the program, declared by critics of the governor as a political stunt to elevate DeSantis’ status ahead of the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, will be waiting for them, talking about jobs and help. Larry Keefe of his former law firm website. “I’m back here,” Keefe said in a text message on September 5. “The conditions are quite good.” “very good.” Uthmeier answered. “You have my full support. Call me anytime.” According to text messages obtained by the nonpartisan watchdog group American Oversight, Keepe appears to have made contact with the Texas governor. Greg Abbott’s office. At some point between September 1st and September 19th, Uthmeier texted Abbott’s chief of staff Luis Saenz to introduce Keefe. “Luis, I asked Larry Keefe from my team for a POC. [point of contact] Here he can repeat others as needed,” Uthmeier wrote. “He works as one of the boss’s senior advisors for public safety. “He’s a former U.S. Attorney General in the Trump administration, and he’s reliable and competent.” DeSantis and Abbott’s offices did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday. Immigrants covering their faces outside a plane from Texas to Marsas Vineyards, Massachusetts. Florida taxpayers paid for the charter. Records were released Friday at 9:23 PM at the request of the Florida Center for Government Accountability, a watchdog group that sued the Governor for delays in record creation. Michael Barfield, FLCGA’s head of public access, said the record shows that there are still more unturned records. “It took 25 days to create a form with 12 pages of text, a few photos, and immigrant signatures,” he said. “It took DeSantis entourage more time to set the record than to plan this political stunt.” Through a lawyer who came to help, the immigrants denounced the immigration program, claiming that they thought they were going to Boston after being tricked into getting on a plane in media interviews and federal civil rights lawsuits. Martha’s Vineyard had community members who came together to provide food, clothing and other support, but no one expected them. However, at least one immigrant expressed his appreciation in a screenshot text message from Keef to Uthmeier. “You threw us into the cradle of gold.” He wrote in Spanish to a person called “Perla” who could possibly be Perla Huerta, a former US Army counterintelligence agent that immigrants identified in San Antonio as the program’s top recruiter. . The immigrant, whose name is not visible in the records, noted that food and clothing were provided to the group. “I’m glad they took good care of you,” Huerta wrote. “Nobody else would have given this opportunity,” she wrote, while acknowledging that some immigrants might hate her. As the king of public safety, Keef’s portfolio includes immigration. Prior to joining the administration, he worked as an outside attorney for Vertol Systems Company, a Destin, Florida-based company hired by the Florida Department of Transportation to arrange flights. Keef led Vertol’s litigation strategy and was later appointed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida by then-President Donald Trump. After hearing recent revelations, Rachel Self, a Boston immigration attorney representing immigrants, added that she liked DeSantis as “the bully on the school yard.”[T]The Florida governor was proud of this callous behavior, and certain cable news figures joined in pointing out and ridiculing the prank. The illegal arrest of vulnerable people, including children as young as two, seems to have been a hysterical joke in a playground. But sunlight is said to be the best disinfectant.” The Democratic Sheriff of Bexa County, which includes San Antonio, is conducting a criminal investigation into whether Bertol recruiters violated “illegal arrest” laws by deceiving and moving immigrants across the country. Bexa County (Texas) Sheriff Javier Salazar is leading a criminal investigation into the Governor. Ron DeSantis’ Taxpayer Assistance Program brings immigrants from San Antonio to the Democrats’ stronghold. Carl Juste cjuste@MiamiHerald.com Sheriff Javier Salazar referred to a previous statement that told Herald that his organized crime department had identified suspects, cited illegal deterrence laws where applicable, and that only those within his jurisdiction could be prosecuted . . Keeffe’s apparent presence in Texas could expose him to potential criminal liability. Vertol has received more than $1.56 million in Florida taxpayer funding so far, the relocation program can continue and flights to other Democratic states, including Delaware and Illinois, are potentially planned, additional records released late Friday said. Text messages between Kiff and Usmeier suggest that the two had several phone conferences with a Vertol employee. The migrants who flew to Martha’s Vineyard were all previously believed to be from Venezuela, but new records show that at least two people came from Peru. This story was originally posted on October 15, 2022 at 7:09 AM. Nicholas Nehamas is an investigative journalist for the Miami Herald who was part of a team that broke the Panama Papers in 2016 and won a Pulitzer Prize. He and his Herald colleagues are in the 2019 series “Dirty Gold, Clean Cash.” He has co-authored two books, “The Grifter’s Club: Trump, Mar-a-Lago, and Selling of the Presidency” and “Dirty Gold: The Rise and Fall of the International Smuggling Ring.” He joined Herald in 2014. Digital Subscription Supports My Work Mary Ellen Klas is the State Capitol Director of the Miami Herald, covering government and politics, focusing on her investigative responsibilities and reporting. In 2018-19, Mary Ellen was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and she was named a 2019 Murrey Marder Nieman Fellow by Watchdog Journalism. In 2018 she received the Sunshine Award from the Professional Journalists Association. The Herald’s Statehouse Bureau is a collaboration with Tampa Bay Times’ Statehouse staff. Support her work with a digital subscription. You can reach her at email@example.com and on her Twitter @MaryEllenKlas.
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