The Brett Favre-Mississippi welfare scandal reached new heights on Monday with the release of text messages linking Favre again to the misuse of state welfare funds for a University of Washington volleyball stadium. southern Mississippi.
Favre is accused of trying to funnel $5 million into the new complex built at his Southern Miss alma mater, where his daughter played volleyball in 2018 in conjunction with former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and Nancy New.
Mississippi Today’s Anna Wolfe revealed alleged text messages shared by New’s attorney, a nonprofit founder who pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud relating to widespread misuse of $77 million in Temporary Assistance funds federal government to needy families.
The texts would show Bryant guiding Favre on how to write a funding proposal that would be accepted by the Mississippi Department of Social Services.
One of the text messages shows former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant asking New, who has since pleaded guilty to a litany of state and federal charges relating to the scheme, for help with Favre and his “project”.
“I just left Brett Favre,” Bryant emailed New in July 2019. “Can we help him with his project. We should meet soon to see how I can make sure we keep your plans on track.
When Favre asked Bryant how the agency’s new manager might affect their volleyball stadium funding plans, Bryant assured him, “I’m going to handle this…long story but I had to make a change. But I’ll call Nancy and see what it takes.
According to the report, the parties involved managed to find a loophole over the spending of the Temporary Assistance Funds for Needy Families, in which the Mississippi Department of Social Services provided $4 million for facility upgrades.
Favre was reportedly questioned by the FBI about a $1.1 million payment made to him.
Brett Favre was accused of getting welfare to build a college volleyball facility
The text messages also show Favre asking New, in August 2017, “Is there any way the media can find out where he’s from and how much?”
New dismissed those claims in a follow-up text. She would assist prosecutors in the civil case as part of her plea deal, according to Mississippi Today.
Favre was reportedly questioned by the FBI for his alleged involvement in the welfare fraud case.
He was paid $1.1 million to promote the volleyball initiative and in a text to New – according to Wolfe – said he “could tape a few radio spots” and “any compensation could go to USM”.
Favre is an NFL Hall of Famer and 1998 Super Bowl winner (pictured) with the Packers
The Green Bay Packers legend, 52, who has not been charged with a crime, was reportedly paid cash in 2017 and 2018, as part of the wider $70million scandal – with a professional wrestler, a horse farm and the aforementioned volleyball complex.
NBC News reported that Favre, who has since returned the $1.1 million but not the $228,000 in interest demanded by a Mississippi state auditor, did speak to the FBI about the case.
Favre has already defended himself on social media, posting in October 2021 that he didn’t know where the money was coming from and believed he was being paid for taking part in three years of ads.
It is alleged that the money given to Favre came from the Welfare Fund for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and came at the direction of former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. Bryant also denied knowing the money was from welfare.
Favre repaid the $1.1 million and says he believed the money was for the ads he was in
Speaking on Twitter, Favre said last year, “I’m doing everything I can to support this investigation to make things right for the people of Mississippi and I’ve shared everything I know, namely that I got paid for three years of commercials that I did, and I paid taxes on the money, as it should.
“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 spreading this lie that the money was for events of no -presentation is something I cannot remain silent about.’
According to the report, Shad White was the state auditor who first uncovered wasteful spending and fraud.
In late July, a Mississippi state attorney was fired after issuing a subpoena to see if ex-NFL star Brett Favre had faked a $5 million construction-related donation in 2018 USM Volleyball Arena.
Part of the subpoena Pigott filed was for a $5 million check intended for the establishment.
Pigott told The New York Times that Favre had agreed to donate $5 million for the construction of the building.
But the investigator — a former federal prosecutor — says Favre instead asked that the $5 million be paid to the Mississippi Community Education Center, which was arrested for misusing social funds in April.
Favre is a Super Bowl champion and three-time NFL MVP who played for the Falcons, Packers, Jets and Vikings, but is best known for his 15 years as a quarterback in Green Bay.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
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