Ron DeSantis’ assistant Larry Keefe used the pseudonym ‘Clarice Starling’ for the migrants’ flight offer

A top aide to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis used an alias “Silence of the Lambs” while helping a former client secure a bid to fly asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in September.

DeSantis public safety czar Larry Keefe used a private email address under the alias Clarice Starling to help private contractor Vertol Systems Company win the opportunity to operate the controversial migrant theft program of the state, WTVJ reported last week.

Emails between Keefe – who officially represented Vertol for years in the private sector – and CEO James Montgomerie were initially not delivered in a lawsuit, despite Montgomerie’s testimony that his company has released “every” disc, according to the report.

Vertol reportedly earned at least $1.5 million for ferrying dozens of mostly Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio to Massachusetts Island on September 14, and for other scheduled migrant flights to Delaware and the United States. ‘Illinois that have yet to materialize, according to the article.

The eight-paragraph language sent from Keefe to Montgomerie in late August ended up almost verbatim in the proposal Vertol sent to Florida transportation officials Sept. 2, according to the local station.

The clandestine communication was finally released just before Christmas after the Florida Center for Government Accountability sued the state and Vertol for documents related to the migrant resettlement efforts.

Larry Keefe allegedly helped private contractor Vertol Systems Company win the tender to transport asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.
Keefe, Anchors & Gordon Law Firm

The governor’s office had previously said it was “unaware of this email address belonging to Mr. Keefe.”

“This is the email channel to use,” Keefe wrote from his Gmail alias to Montgomerie’s AOL account on Aug. 26, when the airline was about to bid on the state program, according to the Miami. Herald.

In addition to the text chain, the two men reportedly called or texted each other 33 times in the days leading up to Florida’s agreement with Vertol on the principle of a contractual agreement, WTVJ said.

The state and contractor have denied charges of violating migrants’ civil rights and concealing public documents in the political stunt orchestrated by DeSantis, who won re-election in a landslide last month and who , rumored to be considering a presidential bid.

Keefe, a former US attorney for the Trump administration, was hired last year by DeSantis to manage his $12 million migrant relocation program, which was approved by the Tallahassee legislature earlier this year, despite the fact that Florida has no land border with a foreign country. The U.S. Border Patrol in Florida recorded 35,000 interactions with migrants in fiscal year 2022, mostly people arriving by boat.

Scene from "Silence of the Lambs".
Larry Keefe reportedly used a private email address under the pseudonym Clarice Starling.
©Orion Pictures Corp/courtesy Everett Co/Everett Collection

The latest revelations come as the state and the contractor are charged in lawsuits with violating the civil rights of Texas migrants and withholding public documents, allegations they deny.

Keefe’s “Starling” Gmail address – a reference to the FBI intern who hunts fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter in the movie “Silence of the Lambs” and its sequels – also included the phrase “Heat 19”, which was a call sign given to Keefe by a military commander while serving in the private sector, the Herald reported.

Neither Keefe nor DeSantis responded to a request from the newspaper for comment.

Ron DeSantis.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hired Larry Keefe last year to manage his $12 million migrant relocation program.
Getty Images

“Who does Mr. Keefe work for?” Michael Barfield, director of public access for FLCGA, reportedly asked. “The State of Florida or the contractor or both? »

Barfield said Montgomerie lied under oath and accused the state of deliberately trying to conceal the documents, which were only released after the FLCGA asked if all correspondence had been fully disclosed.

He had called for an investigation into the alleged sleight of hand, even though Florida officials are allowed to use private emails for public business under the law, according to the newspaper.

Migrants by plane.  Vertol got the offer to send migrants to Martha's Vineyard from Texas.

Vertol got the offer to send migrants to Martha’s Vineyard from Texas.

View from airplane window.

A TikTok video, recorded by one of the migrants who was sent to Martha’s Vineyard from Texas, has been released by the Florida Governor’s Executive Office.


“Our open government laws were designed to prevent clandestine deals and keep the public informed. It is the antithesis of open government. Using encrypted apps and military jargon is not doing things in the sun,” Barfield reportedly said.

“Worse, Mr. Keefe and Mr. Montgomerie knew what they were doing. They are very familiar with the laws on public records. Communicating in this way certainly makes it more difficult for the average citizen… to find out what is really going on behind the scenes.

The flight program was approved by lawmakers to deport ‘unauthorized aliens’ from the Sunshine State, but the migrants who were flown to the posh East Coast liberal enclave had never set foot in Florida and were in the country legally seeking asylum.

Florida and Vertol had called the disputed program a “humanitarian operation” in internal documents, according to the newspaper.

With PA

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