Text messages made public this month shed latest light on former NFL quarterback Brett Favre’s alleged role in a yearslong welfare scheme as he stays embroiled in a civil lawsuit.
Driving the news: The text messages filed in court last week and first published by Mississippi Today show that former Gov. Phil Bryant (R) helped Favre in his alleged scheme to divert federal welfare money to construct a volleyball stadium on the University of Southern Mississippi, with a price tag of greater than $5 million.
- Favre’s daughter played volleyball at USM before transferring to LSU in August.
Details: “In the event you were to pay me is there any way the media could discover where it got here from and the way much?” Favre asked in 2017 regarding a $1.1 million proposal for promotional efforts that really went toward constructing the stadium, per the Latest York Times.
The opposite side: Bud Holmes, Favre’s lawyer, told Axios his client “did absolutely nothing improper” and that the individuals who paid Favre didn’t want that information to be public.
- He maintains that Favre was paid upfront for appearances, which had contracts that said he can be contacted to make said appearances. But he was never asked to indicate up, Holmes said.
- Favre took the cash he was paid and used it for the volleyball court, his attorney said, adding that the NFL star gave hundreds of thousands of his own money for it too.
The texts also reveal that Bryant guided Favre in writing a funding proposal that may be approved by the Mississippi Department of Human Services, per Mississippi Today.
Meanwhile, Bryant had fired John Davis, former executive director of the agency, for alleged fraud.
- Davis pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to defraud the state out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funds, per the Justice Department.
Background: A state audit in 2020 found that Mississippi misspent tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars of welfare funds, including $1.1 million that went to Favre for speaking engagements he didn’t attend, Axios’ Julia Shapero reports.
- While Favre eventually paid back the state $1.1 million, the Department of Human Services filed a lawsuit in May accusing Favre and others of misspending and wrongly receiving welfare funds.