Through the Mississippi welfare fund scandal investigations, long time Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre has denied knowledge of the fact that the roughly $1 million in welfare funds he received came from money meant for families in need. According to an article by Mississippi Today published on Sept. 13, a series of text messages could contradict Favre's claims.
Per the report, messages entered as evidence in the lawsuit on Sept. 12 appear to show then-Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant helping Favre with the funding proposal for a new volleyball stadium at Southern Miss -- his alma mater and the same school where his daughter played volleyball. Bryant's messages also show him texting nonprofit group founder Nancy New -- who earlier this year pleaded guilty to 13 felony counts relating to the scandal.
"Just left Brett Favre," Bryant texted New on the afternoon of July 16, 2019. "Can we help him with his project. We should meet soon to see how I can make sure we keep your projects on course."
According to Mississippi Today, Bryant sent that text just a few days after former welfare agency director John Davis left because of suspected fraud. Screenshots of the texts -- filed by an attorney representing New's nonprofit organization -- also showed Bryant responding to Favre when the Pro Football Hall of Famer asked how Davis' departure and a new agency director would affect their plans.
"I will handle that… long story but had to make a change," read Bryant's response. "But I will call Nancy and see what it will take."
Another eyebrow-raising message includes Favre asking New if the media could potentially find out where the money came from, to which New replied no because they've never made that information public.
According to ESPN, Favre had been told by Bryant that the use of state funds on facilities at Southern Miss could be illegal, but Favre had continued to press on in pursuing the volleyball project. According to a 62-page filing that objects to a subpoena for Bryant's documents, Favre had texted the former governor on Sept. 4, 2019, after a meeting that they and others had to discuss the request of an additional $1.8 million to $2 million for programs at the facility.
Favre made a recruitment pitch for Bryant's help as a Southern Miss alumni and supporter of the University, to which Bryant replied: "We are going to get there. This was a great meeting. But we have to follow the law. I am to(o) old for Federal Prison."
Brett Favre: Will the media find out that we're using welfare funds intended to help the poorest residents of America's poorest state to build a volleyball center?— Adam Ganucheau (@GanucheauAdam) September 13, 2022
Nancy New: Nah. Oh yeah, the governor is fully on board!@ayewolfe five years later: https://t.co/rWXHRXISsu pic.twitter.com/wo3QuIYXaY
that was reportedly given to him for motivational speeches he did not give. The money he received was part of approximately $77 million in funds from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Allegedly, $5 million went to the volleyball stadium project. Favre still owes $228,000 in interest and could be taken to court by the state of Mississippi if he does not pay in full.
Favre's attorney has yet to release any new public statements after the text messages were shared publicly.