Two companies backed by Brett Favre are being sued by the state of Mississippi for allegedly taking millions of dollars in welfare funds that were supposed to go toward needy families, according to documents obtained by ESPN.
Prevacus and PresolMD, both founded by Jake VanLandingham, have been trying to develop a nasal spray and cream that prevent and mitigate the effects of concussions. They have been accused of taking more than $2.1 million in Mississippi welfare funds. Favre is the biggest outside investor in Prevacus, according to the lawsuit, and he claims to have invested $1 million into the companies.
"I had no idea this was welfare money, and I've always been an upstanding person when it comes to research," VanLandingham said in an interview with ESPN.
In addition to allegedly accepting money earmarked for welfare programs, Prevacus and PresolMD have been accused of exaggerating their connections to the NFL and the effectiveness of their products.
In marketing materials for Prevacus and PresolMD, they claimed to have "provided product samples and cultivated relationships with six NFL Active Teams." VanLandingham claimed that Favre made connections with several team doctors and trainers, but he couldn't remember which teams were contacted specifically. He was also unsure about whether any samples had been used by NFL players.
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The state's lawsuit alleges that some of the money Prevacus and PresolMD received from Mississippi came through the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC), which was run by Nancy New. In April, New pleaded guilty to bribery of a public official, fraud against the government, wire fraud, and racketeering.
The lawsuit asserts that a "sham" of a deal was created to benefit defendants like New, VanLandingham, and Favre.
The Hall of Fame quarterback has come under fire for his alleged involvement in other areas of the Mississippi welfare scandal. Favreto build a new volleyball facility at his alma mater Southern Miss. Text messages from Aug. 3, 2017 claim Favre asked New about privacy regarding payments to him.
"If you were to pay me is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?" he wrote in the text message conversation, photos show.
In a statement to Fox News, Favre maintained that he was unaware the money was allocated for a welfare program.
"No one ever told me, and I did not know, that funds designated for welfare recipients were going to the University or me," Favre said. "I tried to help my alma mater USM, a public Mississippi state university, raise funds for a wellness center. My goal was and always will be to improve the athletic facilities at my university."