A chartered flight organized by Project Dynamo arrives at Tampa International Airport on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. The flight organized by Project Dynamo had 270 evacuees from Israel including 91 children and four dogs.
TALLAHASSEE — Emergency management officials have authorized up to nearly $50 million in taxpayer dollars to one contractor for open-ended charter flights since Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered the state to bring Floridians home from Israel two weeks ago, public records show.
State officials have offered little information about who’s involved in helping Americans leave Israel amid the war with Hamas, besides identifying Project Dynamo, a Tampa-based nonprofit international rescue group founded by ex-military personnel helping to run the mission.
So it’s unclear if all of the money is going to the Israel evacuation or to DeSantis’ controversial migrant flights as well.
Open-government advocates say a full accounting of the costs should be a public record and note that the governor’s office was sued and lost when it tried to hide the expenses for migrant flights to Martha’s Vineyard and California.
“There is no exemption for the records sought here,” said Michael Barfield, director of public access initiatives for the Florida Center for Government Accountability.