An investigative report by Mississippi Today revealed Tuesday that former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant helped former NFL quarterback Brett Favre obtain welfare funds so as to assist construct a brand new volleyball heart on the University of Southern Mississippi.
The information group reviewed textual content messages from 2017 and 2019 that had been filed Monday within the state of Mississippi’s civil lawsuit over misspent welfare funds. The texts had been filed by an legal professional representing Nancy New, who has already pleaded responsible to 13 felony counts of bribery, fraud and racketeering for her function within the welfare scheme. New was the founding father of the Mississippi Community Education Center, which was tasked with spending tens of thousands and thousands in federal welfare funds to assist the state.
State auditors decided nonprofit leaders misspent at the very least $77 million in welfare funds within the largest case of public fraud in Mississippi historical past.
The texts show Favre, New and Bryant discussing the way to divert at the very least $5 million in welfare funds to construct a volleyball stadium at Southern Miss. Favre performed soccer at Southern Miss, and his daughter was a volleyball participant there on the time a few of the texts had been despatched.
“If you were to pay me is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?” Favre requested New in 2017.
After telling Favre that “we never have that information publicized,” she circled again to him the subsequent day.
“Wow, just got off the phone with Phil Bryant! He is on board with us! We will get this done!” New instructed Favre.
In one other textual content despatched in July 2019, Bryant instructed New he had simply completed assembly with Favre and requested her if they may assist him together with his mission.
Favre’s legal professional, Bud Holmes, denied to Mississippi Today that the previous quarterback knew he obtained welfare funds.
“Brett Favre has been honorable throughout this whole thing,” Holmes instructed the information group.
Favre had instructed the outlet in 2020 that he had not mentioned the volleyball stadium mission with Bryant.
Bryant, who left workplace in January 2020, has lengthy denied serving to direct welfare funds to the stadium mission, and he didn’t deal with the texts in an announcement to Mississippi Today that accused New’s protection workforce of being “more concerned with pretrial publicity than they are with civil justice.”
Mississippi Today reported that the volleyball stadium just isn’t a part of the state’s civil lawsuit. Favre and Bryant haven’t been criminally charged.
Last yr, Favre paid again $600,000 to the state of Mississippi, an quantity he had been paid for speeches he by no means gave. Favre was commissioned in 2017 and 2018 to advertise a state poverty-fighting initiative, receiving $1.1 million. The state auditor’s workplace reported that he initially gave again $500,000 of the quantity, however earlier this month, Favre was requested in a letter to repay the rest plus curiosity.
Then, in May, the Mississippi Department of Human Services filed a civil lawsuit towards Favre as a result of he had not paid again curiosity on the $1.1 million that amounted to $228,000.
According to the textual content messages within the submitting obtained by Mississippi Today, the $1.1 million cope with the state was one other technique of funding the volleyball stadium mission.
Reuters contributed to this report.