Martha's Vineyard flight company linked to high-ranking DeSantis official: Florida newspaper
Florida governor Ron DeSantis. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

New information is coming to light about the controversial decision for Florida to spend public money flying migrants in Texas to Massachusetts.

"Although Destin-based Vertol Systems Company is in aviation, its primary business is training pilots for the military and providing helicopters across the globe. But the company was familiar to a key member of the DeSantis administration: Larry Keefe, the state’s 'public safety czar' responsible for carrying out the governor’s anti-immigration programs. The company also has a private jet that flew from Florida to San Antonio a week before charter flights took 48 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard," the Miami Herald reported.

The flights are being investigated in Texas by Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar.

"Before DeSantis hired Keefe, and before he was named U.S. Attorney for Florida’s Northern District by then-President Donald Trump, Keefe represented Vertol Systems in a dozen lawsuits between 2010 and 2017," the newspaper reported. "The state has paid Vertol Systems more than $1.56 million to, among other things, arrange last week’s migrant flights from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, which sparked outrage, a criminal investigation by a local sheriff and a federal lawsuit by some of the migrants. So far, Keefe’s ties to Vertol Systems are the best explanation of why the state hired the company."

The program was funded by the GOP-controlled legislature to the tune of $12 million, using interest earned on federal pandemic relief money.

"State officials haven’t said how they chose Vertol Systems, whether the state solicited multiple bids for the work as required by the Legislature, or even released the state’s contract with the company," the newspaper reported.

Read the full report.