There’s been a new development in the ongoing Mississippi civil lawsuit regarding Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, who is allegedly involved in a welfare fraud case.
Text messages entered the case on Monday, which shows former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant pushed for a volleyball complex to be built at the University of Southern Mississippi using the welfare money, a project the Green Bay Packers legend was heavily invested in, Mississippi Today reported. Favre’s daughter played volleyball at USM.
Bryant texted Favre about how to draft a funding proposal that he was pushing on Nancy New, a nonprofit founder who plead guilty in April to misusing public money. Attorneys for New’s nonprofit were the ones who sent in the text messages.
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“Can we help with his project[?]” Bryant asked New in July 2019 about Favre’s volleyball complex at the school. “We should meet soon to see how I can make sure we keep your projects on course.”
Bryant reportedly told Favre that he would “handle” the funds being made available despite there being a new director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, as Bryant let John Davis go.
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At least $5 million worth of state funds were raised for the new volleyball stadium at the university, and Bryant denied any involvement in it for years.
New’s guilty plea came on 13 felony counts related to the scheme, which misspent at least $77 million in funds, according to Mississippi Today. While Davis awaits trial for his role in it, Bryant and Favre both have yet to be charged with a crime. New has been aiding prosecutors as part of the plea deal.
There is also the $1.1 million welfare contract that the messages show was given to Favre to promote the USM program.
“I could record a few radio spots…and whatever compensation could go to USM,” Favre had texted New.
Texts show that Favre was also worried that the media could find out about where the funding was coming from.
The name of the welfare program is the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Favre reportedly received money from them in 2017 and 2018, and while he has repaid that money, he has not paid the $228,000 in interest demanded by a Mississippi state auditor, according to NBC News.
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The FBI had questioned Favre about the scandal, as Budd Holmes, Favre’s lawyer, admitted.
“I am doing all that I can to support this investigation to make things right for the people of Mississippi and I have shared all that I know, which is that I was paid for three years of commercials that I did, and I paid taxes on the money, as I should,” Favre posted to Twitter.
Favre had also reportedly sought out a $3.2 million grant for a drug company that he is a shareholder of as well as the volleyball stadium.
Shad White is the state auditor who first discovered the misspending and fraud, according to NBC News. White responded to Favre’s October 2021 tweet, defending the findings that Favre was also supposed to give motivational speeches to which he received payment.
“These are lies, [Brett Favre],” White said on Twitter at the time. “I am not going to hide how much you were paid, why you were paid, or conduct back room meetings to make this go away … You did not give the speeches. You have acknowledged this in statements to my agents.”
Fox News’ Joe Morgan contributed to this report.