Former Mississippi governor helped Brett Favre get welfare, texts say

Former Mississippi governor helped Brett Favre get welfare, texts say

Former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant helped Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre secure welfare funds to help build a volleyball center at the University of Southern Mississippi, according to a Mississippi Today investigative report.

The outlet reviewed text messages from 2017 and 2019 that were filed Monday as part of Mississippi’s lawsuit for misspent social funds. The case was filed by an attorney representing Nancy New, who founded the Mississippi Community Education Center which was to spend tens of millions in federal welfare funds to help the state. New pleaded guilty to 13 counts of bribery, fraud and racketeering in what state auditors have determined is the largest public fraud case in Mississippi history, with at least $77 million dollars misspent by nonprofit leaders.

The texts reportedly show Favre, New and Bryant discussing how to embezzle at least $5 million for a volleyball stadium in Southern Miss, where Favre was playing college football and his daughter was playing volleyball at the time. some texts have been sent.

“If you were to pay me, would the media be able to find out where it came from and how much anyway?” a text showed that Favre had asked New in 2017. She replied that “we never have that information made public” and told him the next day: “Wow, I just hung up on Phil Bryant! He’s on board with We! We’ll do it!”

In a July 2019 text, Bryant told New he had just met Favre and asked if she could help.

A lawyer for Favre denied that his client knew he had received welfare funds. “Brett Favre has been honorable throughout this case,” Bud Holmes told Mississippi Today. In 2020, Favre told the outlet that he did not discuss the stadium, which is not part of the state’s lawsuit, with Bryant.

Favre and Bryant, who left office in January 2020, have not been criminally charged, and Bryant did not address the texts in a statement to Mississippi Today. In it, he accused New’s defense team of being “more concerned with pretrial publicity than civil justice.” The motion filed by New is the first direct and public accusation of wrongdoing by Bryant.

Favre last year repaid the state $600,000 he received for speeches he never gave as part of a $1.1 million deal he struck in 2017 and 2018 to promote an initiative to fight poverty. The state auditor said he originally repaid $500,000 and in May the Mississippi Department of Social Services filed a lawsuit against Favre, claiming that interest on the $1.1 million s amounted to $228,000.

States are prohibited from using federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program money for “brick-and-mortar” buildings and the effort to circumvent federal regulations to build the volleyball stadium has already resulted in a criminal conviction.

Zach New, the son of Nancy New, admitted in a plea deal in April to defrauding the government when he participated in a scheme “to disguise the USM construction project as a ‘lease’ in order to circumvent the strict ban on the limited-purpose grant against “brick and mortar construction projects in violation of Miss. Ann.Code 97-7-10. »

Favre was briefly questioned more than two years ago by the FBI, Mississippi Today reported last week. Holmes told the outlet that Favre was asked a question and he believes Favre has not been interviewed since. The Mississippi Community Education Center hired Favre Enterprises in 2017 and 2018 to make appearances to promote Families First for Mississippi, a program designed to help families in need, and Favre was a no-show for these.

In 2020, the former NFL quarterback denied “receiving money for obligations I didn’t fulfill,” saying, “I love Mississippi and would never knowingly do anything. or to take it away from those who need it most.

Mississippi had the highest poverty rate in the nation, with 20.3% living below the poverty line, according to the US Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. The poverty rate in the United States is 13.4%.

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