Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration failed to comply with the state’s public records laws and was forced to turn over records on flights carrying migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, a judge said Tuesday.
On September 14, two planes picked up 48 migrants in San Antonio, Texas, and dropped them off at Martha’s Vineyard. Their arrival prompted an overwhelming response, including humanitarian aid from local residents and support from Massachusetts officials.
The next day, DeSantis’ office admitted sending the planes, prompting a strong backlash from Democratic officials in Florida and the White House.
On Tuesday, Leon County Circuit Judge J. Lee Marsh said the governor’s office had taken “no steps, no direct steps to collect what this court deems to be public records” at the request of the Florida Government Accountability Center. The judge gave the administration 20 days to provide the records, the Miami Herald reported.
CNN has reached out to the governor’s office for comment.
“We are very pleased to report that we have been victorious in court today…” FLCGA he tweeted. “… It’s a great day for the Public Records Act and the right to know what our government is doing!”
The group filed a lawsuit on October 10 to compel the release of public records, including text and phone records, communications with contractors who provided the flights and copies of any waivers signed by the migrants.
“We do not believe that the Governor’s Office has responded in good faith to our records request. Not a single record that we actually requested has been produced,” said Michael Barfield, director of FLCGA’s public access program, in a news release when the lawsuit was filed. the right is more important than the Governor’s desire to spread misinformation. The governor has a constitutional duty to provide information to the citizens of the state of Florida.”