A series of text conversations between Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre and former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant appear to show that Favre repeatedly lobbied the then-Governor to fund the construction of a volleyball facility- ball at the University of Southern Mississippi even after Favre was told the misuse of public funds was potentially illegal, according to new court documents.
Funding for the facility at Favre’s alma mater was part of an investigation into millions of dollars in misdirected welfare funds within the Mississippi Department of Human Services, which investigators say were intended for the personal use of members of the leadership and granted to prominent Mississippians like Favre, whose daughter was playing volleyball in college at the time.
Although Favre has not been criminally charged in the massive welfare fraud scheme, he is charged in a civil lawsuit brought by the state against more than 35 people and entities seeking to recover a portion of the funds.
New documents filed Friday in Hind County District Court by Bryant’s attorney show Favre texted Bryant multiple times asking if funding for the volleyball complex would be secured. Favre also texted Bryant in July 2019 about funding a high-quality football facility to attract better recruits, the filing notes.
“The use of these funds [is] Tightly controlled. Any improper use could result in a violation of federal law,” Bryant emailed Favre on July 28, 2019, according to the filing.
“As soon as we get approval, we can move forward. Without this approval, any spending could be illegal and Nancy and USM could be required to reimburse the federal government for all funds spent,” the then-governor added, according to the filing.
Favre, however, continued to press the governor, texting him again on September 4, 2019 about the need to fund the move to the university’s Hattiesburg campus.
“Obviously we need your help and time is working against us. And we think your name is the perfect choice for this installation, and we’re not taking no for an answer! You are a Southern Miss Alumni, and people should know that you are also a supporter of the University,” Favre wrote to the governor, according to the filing.
Bryant replied, “We will get there. It was an excellent meeting. But we have to obey the law. I’m at[o] old for federal prison. [smiley face, sunglasses emoji]”, according to the file.
Bryant’s attorney argued in the filing that the then-governor continually pushed back against Favre’s demands. Bryant is not named in the civil lawsuit and has not been criminally charged in connection with the welfare program.
CNN contacted Favre’s attorney about the latest filing on Sunday afternoon, but did not receive a response. Last week, the former quarterback’s attorney told CNN Favre, who retired after the 2010 season and a 20-year NFL career, was unaware social funds were being used for the volleyball center and that his fundraising efforts for the facility were honorable.
In addition to the texts between Favre and Bryant, the file also shows Favre’s text communications with Nancy New, founder of one of the nonprofit investigators who said she received some of the misdirected funds, the Mississippi Community Education Center. .
According to the court filing, in a May 2019 text message obtained by Mississippi Today, New told Favre she was “on board” to satisfy Favre’s volleyball facility debt with funds from the facility. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a state welfare program, and New had discussed the idea with former Department of Social Services director John Davis.
New and his son were convicted for their role in the scheme that directed funds to the volleyball center. Davis also pleaded guilty Thursday to state and federal charges related to the extensive fraud scheme.
Bryant’s attorneys argued that the text exchanges between Bryant and Favre showed that “Governor Bryant did not know what had previously transpired between New, Davis and Favre regarding funding for the USM Volleyball Center” before Favre only mentions their involvement in July 2019.
According to the filing, Bryant was the lead whistleblower in the state auditor’s investigation into the fraud that occurred at MDHS, which ultimately uncovered $94 million in mismanaged and questionable funds under Davis’s control. previously reported CNN.
The state auditor said about $77 million of the mis-spent funds was money for the state’s welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
#Brett #Favre #continued #push #volleyball #facility #funding #learning #illegal #filing #claims #CNN