Ramba’s client, Frontier Florida LLC, the software company that works with Internet cafes, is not part of the investigation into Allied Veterans.
Richter said the cost of the Naples to Tallahassee flight is $2,400 and he usually splits the cost with other legislators, with each paying about $600 per trip. He does not pay for the cost of flying the plane back to Tallahassee.
Richter said he typically travels with other members of the Southwest Florida delegation. According to OneSky.com, the market cost of a small, charter plane from Tallahassee to Naples is between $2,100 and $2,800 per flight.
Federal Aviation records show that Ramba is the owner of two turboprop planes, a Cirrus and a Piper, and has used them for hundreds of flights across the state in the past two years.
Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, said she has flown on the plane a few times and normally pays hundreds of dollars each time, a fee she said is fair market rate.
“Depending on the number of people, it normally ranges from $460 a person to $660,” she told the Herald/Times.
Weatherford’s political committee paid $688 for a flight in September 2010, according to records from the Division of Elections.
For many politicians, the value in Ramba’s charter air service is not the cost but the convenience.
Smith, of Fort Lauderdale, paid $765 in September 2012 for a flight to get him from Tallahassee to Fort Lauderdale in time for a campaign event for Senate Democrats.
“I did it once,’’ Smith said.
Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-Lehigh Acres, said he has flown on the chartered flight a few times with Richter, and that he has paid upward of $700 for a trip to Tallahassee.
He said commercial flights can be just as expensive as a chartered plane, and sometimes even more expensive during session.
“There are no direct flights from [Fort Myers],” he said. “You have to go through Atlanta, and the price is around $1,200.”
Sen. Nancy Detert, also a Naples Republican, said she has been offered flights to fly on Charter Air but has declined.
“I just don’t think it looks good to fly on a lobbyist’s plane — and perception saves you a lot of explaining,’’ she said. “Now, he’s got a fancier plane — and I’m like woo-hoo, Air Ramba!”
Herald/Times Tallahassee reporters Toluse Olorunnipa and Steve Bousquet, along with Miami Herald reporter Scott Hiaasen, contributed to this report.