Brett Favre, former Miss. Gov. accused of diverting welfare funds after text messages are revealed
Brett Favre getting his hands on inappropriate passages is nothing new. His latest scandal, however, has reached the highest office of the Mississippi executive.
On Tuesday, Mississippi today published several documents providing verifiable evidence of former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s assistance in assisting Nancy New, founder of the Mississippi Center for Community Education, in transferring welfare funds to the construction of a new volleyball stadium by the University of Southern Mississippi worth millions of dollars, at Favre’s Request.
$7 million USM Wellness Center partially funded by $5 million New help provide. Between 2017 and 2019, New, Favre, and Bryant casually discussed how to secretly redistribute funds. Documents filed by attorney for New, who begged committed up to 13 counts of bribery, fraud, and welfare stadium fraud.
Although Favre and Bryant have never been charged, the texts seem to suggest that he came up with the idea of making even more money through his company as a backdoor to sponsoring the stadium:
“Just thought this was the way to do it!!” Favre texted.
Favre, who has been paid over $138 million during his NFL career, also earn 1.1 million dollars to promote a state initiative, part of the $77 million in flawed welfare fund, for speeches he never read. Those funds were supposed to be a side channel for his volleyball arena project. An audit published in 2020 said New Mississippi’s Center for Community Education paid Favre Enterprises $500,000 in December 2017 and $600,000 in June 2018 to speak for at least three event. In 2020, Favre was ordered to repay the funds, but still owed nearly $228,000 in interest.
G/O Media may receive a commission
Up to 33% Off
Discover Samsung – Washers and Dryers
Discover Samsung’s Washers and Dryers
Samsung’s Discover sale includes these wonderful washers and dryers, as well as one with a nifty steam sanitizer. Clean up nice—and take extra care of those clothes.
While Favre’s involvement in the welfare funds scheme was initially portrayed as a misunderstanding involving one of his charities, the uncovered texts revealed the motives and extent of Favre’s involvement.
Favre has claimed he was unaware that the funds were diverted from welfare, and his attorney, Bud Holmes, denied that the athlete knew the money he received was from the welfare fund. “Brett Favre has been honorable throughout this whole thing,” Holmes said Monday.
But Favre was clearly cognizant of the optics based on text messages with New in 2017. These messages also confirmed the cooperation of Governor Bryant.
“If you were to pay me is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?” Favre asked New in 2017.
After telling Favre that “we never have that information publicized,” she circled back to him the next day.
“Wow, just got off the phone with Phil Bryant! He is on board with us! We will get this done!” New told Favre.
In pursuit of financial support for a state-of-the-art volleyball facility at USM, Bryant assisted Favre on how to write a funding proposal that would be accepted by the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
Mississippi has the lowest welfare acceptance rate in the country, at 1.42 percent. Meaning 98.5 percent of applicants who apply for welfare in the state are denied. Mississippi’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families fund has sent steadily diminishing amounts to families since the 1990s. Congress’ 1996 welfare reform bill gave states more autonomy over how to spend their federal funding for the poor. By 1999, the TANF program which was born from that welfare reform bill, doled out cash assistance to nearly 32,000 families within the state of Mississippi. By 2021, fresh off of a pandemic, that number had reduced to 2,774.
Nationally, unspent TANF funds have accumulated over the decade to $5.2 billion. While states such as California approve cash assistance for 71 out of every 100 families who apply, 4 percent of applicants in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi receive aid from the program.
Mississippi is one of the country’s stingiest distributors of welfare funds to the families that need it most. In August, current Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves paid federal money back for rent assistance to residents in need, even though Census data shows 44.5 percent of Mississippians are paying rent, by calling it a “social pilot program” socialist”. However, the old boys network is thriving in Mississippi, where Favre and Governor Bryant have escaped criminal prosecution so far, although Favre is said to have been interviewed by the FBI.
Meanwhile, the state’s two-term governor gratuitously supported one of the wealthiest individuals in the state to sponsor a volleyball arena, according to documents published by Mississippi Today.
Favre contacted Governor Bryant to get things sorted out quickly. In response, Governor Bryant called Nancy New,” a motion filed on behalf of New’s Mississippi Community Education Center wrote.
The governor is still tweaking the project as it progresses. On November 2, 2017, New texted Favre, “I saw the Government last night…everything will be fine.”
Another text exchange sent in July 2019, featured Bryant telling New that he had just finished meeting with Favre and asking her if they could help him with his arena project. no, this contradicts what Favre said Mississippi Today in 2020: that he hadn’t discussed the volleyball stadium project with Bryant.