Texts: Ex-gov. helped Favre abuse welfare funds

one Mississippi Today investigative report Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant helped former NFL quarterback Brett Favre secure philanthropic funds to help build a new volleyball center at the University of Southern Mississippi, revealed Tuesday.

The news organization reviewed text messages from 2017 and 2019 that were filed Monday in a Mississippi state civil lawsuit over the misappropriation of welfare funds. The documents were filed by an attorney representing Nancy New, who has already pleaded guilty to 13 felony counts of bribery, fraud and racketeering for her role in the welfare scheme. He was the founder of the New Mississippi Community Education Center, which was tasked with spending tens of millions in federal welfare funds to help the state.

State auditors determined that nonprofit leaders misspent at least $77 million in welfare funds in the largest case of public fraud in Mississippi history.

The text shows Favre, New and Bryant discussing how to channel at least $5 million in philanthropic funds to build a volleyball stadium in Southern Miss. Favre played football at Southern Miss, and his daughter was a volleyball player there. sent.

“If you want to pay me, can the media know where it came from and how much?” Furey asked New in 2017.

After telling Fiore that “we never had that information publicized,” she went back to him the next day.

“Wow, just got off the phone with Phil Bryant! He’s with us! We’ll get this done!” New told Favre.

In another text sent in July 2019, Bryant told New that he had just finished meeting with Favre and asked if he could help him with his project.

Favre’s attorney, Bud Holmes, denied to Mississippi Today that the former quarterback knew he had received welfare funds.

“Brett Favre has been respectable through this whole thing,” Holmes told the news organization.

Favre told the outlet in 2020 that he had not discussed the volleyball stadium project with Bryant.

Bryant, who left office in January 2020, has long denied directly supporting philanthropic funds for the stadium project, and did not address the texts in a statement to Mississippi Today. New’s defense team has been accused of being “more concerned with the publicity of the trial before them. With civil justice.”

Mississippi Today reported that the volleyball stadium is not part of the state’s civil suit. Favre and Bryant have not been charged criminally.

Last year, Favre paid back $600,000 to the state of Mississippi, money he was paid for speeches he never gave. Favre was commissioned to promote state poverty-fighting initiatives in 2017 and 2018, receiving $1.1 million. The state auditor’s office reported that it had initially repaid $500,000, but earlier this month, Favre was asked in a letter to pay the rest plus interest.

Then, in May, the Mississippi Department of Human Services filed a civil suit against Favre for not repaying $228,000 in interest on $1.1 million.

A $1.1 million contract with the state was another source of funding for the volleyball stadium project, according to text messages in filings obtained by Mississippi Today.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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