Gov. Whitmer’s reelection campaign to pay for flights to, from Florida to visit father, AP says

Detroit company that supplied jet to Whitmer can only accept payment from campaign committee

Gov. Whitmer's campaign to pay for $27K jet trip to Florida
Gov. Whitmer's campaign to pay for $27K jet trip to Florida

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s reelection campaign will pay for the controversial flights she took to and from Florida to visit her father, according to the Associated Press.

The lawyer for Whitmer’s campaign fund told the Associated Press that PVS Chemicals, the Detroit-based company that supplied the jet for Whitmer’s flight, can only accept payment from the campaign committee because it’s not authorized to operate charter flights.

Whitmer’s trip first raised eyebrows across the state because it came at a time when her administration was discouraging Michiganders from traveling and recommending strict guidance when doing so.

Then, in mid-May, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it was investigating whether the flight to Florida violated regulations. Reports had surfaced that the Detroit company that owns the plane Whitmer rode to Florida didn’t have the authorization needed to operate charter flights legally.

READ: Here’s Whitmer’s full response to the controversy surrounding her Florida trip

On March 12, Whitmer flew from Lansing to West Palm Beach in a private jet to spend the weekend with her father. She returned to Lansing on March 15.

On Feb. 22, MDHHS had issued guidance telling Michiganders to get a PCR viral test 1-3 days before traveling and 3-5 days upon returning home. Residents were also told to self-quarantine for seven days after traveling.

Local 4 asked the governor’s office why Whitmer didn’t follow health department guidance, and the response was that it wasn’t an executive order and she followed all orders.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed May 17 that Whitmer didn’t follow its guidelines when she traveled to see her father.

On May 18, the FAA confirmed that it was investigating the case. The business jet that flew Whitmer to Florida is registered to Air Eagle.

“We confirmed that Air Eagle does not have a Part 135 certificate,” an FAA spokesperson said. “It’s premature to conclude that a violation of federal aviation regulations occurred. The FAA is looking into the matter.”

A statement from PVS Chemicals president David Nicholson reads:

“On March 8, 2021, an aide to the Governor contacted our company, as a part owner of aircraft, for the use of a plane. We were told this was out of concern for the Governor’s security, as she had received threats on her life. PVS’ Co-Chairman, James B. Nicholson, solely granted that request.

“Our highest priority when interacting with any government official, or representative of government, is to follow the highest standards dictated by both ethics and the law. Over the past few weeks, we took the position that questions about this flight would be best addressed by the Governor’s office. We still believe the outstanding questions are the purview of the Governor’s office. As questions have arisen concerning compliance with FAA rules, we are answering all questions directed to us by the FAA.

"In the future, PVS will follow a newly-created policy to deny all requests to fly candidates or government officials."

About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.