A wide-scale civil lawsuit has gained national attention with the involvement of Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre and his alleged plan to use Mississippi welfare funds for personal gain.
Text messages were entered into evidence Monday, and it revealed former governor Phil Bryant pushed to make Favre?s volleyball idea a reality, according to Mississippi Today’s Anna Wolfe. The texts showed the then-governor guiding Favre on how to write a funding proposal so 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.
“Just left Brett Favre,” Bryant texted nonprofit founder Nancy New in July of 2019, within weeks of Davis? departure, as transcribed by Wolfe. “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 newly released texts were filed Monday by an attorney representing New?s nonprofit. They show Bryant, Favre, New, Davis and others worked together to garner at least $5 million of the state’s welfare funds to build a new volleyball stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi, where Favre’s daughter played the sport. Favre received most of the credit for raising funds to construct the facility. The 52-year is a Mississippi native and played college football at the university.
Bryant has denied involvement in the project, but a text shows there were plans to name the building after him. As mentioned, the scandal is a wide-ranging one that has denied millions of dollars to the people of the state who need it the most.
“New, a friend of Bryant’s wife Deborah, ran a nonprofit that was in charge of spending tens of millions of flexible federal welfare dollars outside of public view,” Wolfe wrote. “What followed was the biggest public fraud case in state history, according to the state auditor’s office. Nonprofit leaders had misspent at least $77 million in funds that were supposed to help the needy, forensic auditors found.
“New pleaded guilty to 13 felony counts related to the scheme, and Davis awaits trial. But neither Bryant nor Favre have been charged with any crime.”
Adding more details for Favre’s involvement in the project, Wolfe added: “The messages also show that a separate $1.1 million welfare contract Favre received to promote the program — the subject of many national headlines — was simply a way to get more funding to the volleyball project.
” ‘I could record a few radio spots,’ Favre texted New, according to the new filing. ‘?and whatever compensation could go to USM.’ “
Favre had largely been out of the public eye since being inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016, outside of a few spot media appearances. However, these texts could signal a downfall for the Green Bay Packers legend, especially if there are more details of his involvement in the scandal.