Newly released text messages allegedly show legendary ex-NFL quarterback and three-time MVP Brett Favre’s complicity in a scheme to illegally funnel $5 million in welfare funds into the construction of a new volleyball stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi.
The planned beautiful facility would benefit many, but in particular, his daughter who played on the volleyball team.
Also tied up in the ongoing fraudulent use of welfare funds scandal is former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who has previously denied any involvement in the massive scandal that prosecutors call a scheme to defraud the government.
The texts were released when they were entered Monday into the State of Mississippi’s ongoing civil lawsuit, as Bryant was forced to turn them over in a subpoena.
The texts are reported to show that Bryant guided Favre on how to write a funding proposal for the scheme so that it would be approved by the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
Also embroiled in the scandal is Nancy New, founder and former head of the nonprofit Mississippi Community Education Center. As part of a plea deal in a separate fraud case, New is cooperating with prosecutors in the Favre case. New is reportedly a friend of Bryant’s wife and her nonprofit reportedly spent tens of millions of dollars in flexible federal welfare funds outside of public scrutiny.
“The texts show that the then-governor even guided Favre on how to write a funding proposal so that it could be accepted by the Mississippi Department of Human Services – even after Bryant ousted the former welfare agency director John Davis for suspected fraud,” according to the nonprofit news outlet Mississipi Today.
“’Just left Brett Favre,’ Bryant texted nonprofit founder Nancy New in July of 2019, within weeks of Davis’ departure. ‘Can we help him with his project. We should meet soon to see how I can make sure we keep your projects on course,'” the outlet reported.
“When Favre asked Bryant how the new agency director might affect their plans to fund the volleyball stadium, Bryant assured him, ‘I will handle that… long story but had to make a change. But I will call Nancy and see what it will take,’ according to the filing and a text Favre forwarded to New.'”
Also, “In July, New alleged Bryant directed her [New] to pay Favre more than $2 million to make speeches.” according to WAPT News:
“’If you were to pay me, is there any way the media can find out where it came from and how much,’ Favre asked New in an August 2018 text.
“‘No, we have never had that information publicized. I understand you be uneasy about that though. Let’s see what happens on Monday with the conversation with some of the folks at Southern. Maybe it will click with them. Hopefully,’ New replied.
“Favre was growing impatient that USM was moving too slowly on the project.
“‘Wow just got off the phone with Phil Bryant. He is on board with us! We will get this done,’ New texted Favre in August 2018.
“‘Awesome. I needed to hear that for sure,’ Favre responded.
“According to the state auditor, Bryant blew the whistle on the welfare scandal and the former governor has denied New’s accusation that he told her to give Favre millions,” WAPT News reported.
The outlet reached out to Bryant for comment and hasn’t heard back. Neither Bryant nor Favre has been charged in the criminal case.
“Speaking on Twitter, Favre said last year: ‘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,'” according to Mississippi Today.
“‘Of course, the money was returned because I would never knowingly take funds meant to help our neighbors in need, but for Shad White to continue to push out this lie that the money was for no-show events is something I cannot stay silent about.’
Shad White is the state auditor who first discovered the misspending and fraud, according to the report.
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