The Brett Favre-Mississippi welfare scandal reached new heights Monday with released text messages again linking Favre to the misuse of state welfare funds for a volleyball stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Favre is accused of trying to funnel $5 million into the new complex built at his alma mater of Southern Miss, where his daughter played volleyball in 2018 in collaboration with former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Nancy New.
Mississippi TodayAnna Wolfe revealed alleged text messages shared by the attorney for New, a nonprofit founder who pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud related to the widespread misuse of $77 million in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds.
The texts reportedly show Bryant guiding Favre on how to write a financial proposal that would be accepted by the Mississippi Department of Human 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 in the scheme, for help as it pertained to Favre and his “project.”
“Just left Brett Favre,” Bryant wrote to Nova in July 2019. “Can we help him with his project. We should meet soon to see how I can make sure we continue your projects.’
When Favre asked Bryant how the new agency director might affect their plans to finance the volleyball stadium, Bryant assured him: “I’ll handle that…long story but had to make a change. But I’ll call Nancy and see what’s needed.’
According to the report, involved parties managed to find a loophole regarding the spending of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds, in which the Mississippi Department of Human Services put forward $4 million toward the facility upgrade.
Favre was reportedly questioned by the FBI over a $1.1 million payment made to him.
Brett Favre was accused of receiving welfare money to build a college volleyball facility
The text messages also show Favre asking New, in August 2017: ‘Is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?’
New rejected these claims in the following text. She is reportedly helping 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 for promoting the volleyball initiative and in a text to New — according to Wolfe — said he “could log some radio spots” and “any compensation could go to USM.”
Favre is an NFL Hall of Famer and Super Bowl winner in 1998 (pictured) with the Packers
The Green Bay Packers legend, 52, who has not been charged with a crime, is said to have been paid the cash in 2017 and 2018 as part of the wider $70 million scandal — along with a professional wrestler, a horse farm and the aforementioned volleyball player complex
NBC News reported that Favre, who has since returned the $1.1m but not the $228,000 in interest demanded by the Mississippi state auditor, did speak to the FBI about the case.
Favre previously defended himself on social media, posting in October 2021 that he did not know where the money came from and that he believed he was being paid for participating in three years of advertisements.
It is assumed that the money paid to Favre came from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare fund, and came at the direction of former Mississippi governor Phil Bryant. Bryant also denied knowing the cash came from welfare money.
Favre repaid the $1.1 million and claims he believed the money was for commercials he was in
Speaking on Twitter last year, 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, which is that I’ve been paid for three years of ads .that I did, and I paid taxes on the money, as I should have.
‘Of course the money was returned as I would never knowingly take funds intended to help our neighbors in need, but for Shad White to continue to push this lie that the money was for no-shows is something I cannot remain silent on. ‘
Shad White is the state auditor who first uncovered the misspending and fraud, according to the report.
In late July, a Mississippi state attorney was fired after issuing a subpoena to see if ex-NFL star Brett Favre falsified a $5 million donation related to the 2018 construction of USM’s volleyball arena.
Part of the subpoena that Pigott filed looked into a $5 million check that went to the facility.
Pigott told the New York Times that Favre agreed to donate $5 million for the construction of the building.
But the investigator – a former federal prosecutor – claims that Favre instead asked for the $5 million to be paid by the Mississippi Community Education Center, which was seized for misusing welfare 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 most famous for his 15 years as a quarterback in Green Bay.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.