Jackson, Miss. (AP) – Newly released text messages show how deeply involved a Mississippi governor was in directing more than $1 million in charity money to Brett Favre to pay for one of the retired NFL quarterback’s pet projects.
Instead of going to help low-income families in one of the nation’s poorest states, as intended, the money was diverted to a nonprofit group and spent on a new $5 million volleyball facility at the university, both the football star and the governor. They participated.
One of the 2017 articles showed that Republican Governor Phil Bryant, who is leaving office in 2020, was “on board” with the event. The state is suing Favre and others for misappropriating millions of dollars in charitable donations. A charity director has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in Mississippi’s largest public corruption case in decades..
The articles were in court documents filed Monday in state court by an attorney for the nonprofit, known as the Mississippi Center for Community Education. Messages sent between Favre and the center’s executive director, Nancy New, include references to Bryant. The documents also included messages between Bryant and Favre and between Bryant and New.
On July 16, 2019, Bryant sent a new text message saying, “I quit Britt Farv,” misspelling the athlete’s last name. “We can help him with his project. We need to meet soon to see how I can keep your projects moving forward.
“I’d love to have the opportunity to follow up on the good things we’re doing, especially projects like Brett’s,” New replied.
Later that day, Addis texted Favre that she would meet with the governor.
“I love John very much. And you,” Favre replied to the New, referring to John Davis, then director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
The documents also show discussions between Favre and New about arranging a speaking engagement fee for Favre from a Department of Human Services nonprofit, with Favre saying he would direct the money to a volleyball institute in south Mississippi.
Favre played soccer at Hattiesburg University before moving on to the NFL in 1991, and his daughter started playing on the volleyball team in 2017.
According to court documents, Favre sent a new text message on Aug. 3, 2017: “If you pay me, can you find out where the media came from and how much?”
Addis replied: “No, we have never disclosed that information. I understand you’re not bothered by that though. Let’s look at the discussion on Monday with some people in the South. Maybe it will click with them. hopefully”
“Okay, thanks,” Favre replied.
The next day, New texted Favre: “Wow, we just got off the phone with Phil Bryant! He’s on board with us! We will do this! “
“I should have heard that for sure,” Favre replied.
According to a previous court filing, NY’s nonprofit paid two welfare payments to Favre Enterprises, the athlete’s business, $500,000 in December 2017 and $600,000 in June 2018.
On December 27, 2017, Favre sent a new text message: “Nancy Santa came today and dropped some money (two smiley emoticons) Thank you my goodness.
“Yes, he did,” replied New. “Feel good this year!”
Favre’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a phone message from The Associated Press on Wednesday.
In a July 11 court filing, NY’s attorney wrote that Bryant ordered Favre to pay $1.1 million in charitable funds through the education center for “speaking events, keynotes, radio and promotional events and business partner development.”
In July, Bryant’s spokeswoman said allegations that the governor misused the money were false and that Bryant had asked the state auditor to investigate the charity fraud.
Bryant has served two terms as governor and is unable to run again in 2019 due to term limits. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.
New and her son, Zachary New, who helped run the nonprofit, pleaded guilty. In April, to file charges of misappropriation of charity funds. They are awaiting sentencing and have agreed to testify against others.
Favre has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.
In May, the Mississippi Department of Human Services filed a civil suit Along with Favre, three veterans, and numerous other people and businesses for receiving millions of misappropriated charity dollars. The suit says the defendants “wasted” more than $20 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families anti-poverty programs.
About 1,800 Mississippi families received payments from the program in 2021, according to the Department of Human Services. A family of three must have a monthly income of less than $680, and the Current monthly benefit It’s $260 for that family. Payments are allowed for up to five years.
Nancy and Zachary New pleaded guilty to participating in a $4 million donation to the volleyball facility.
His mother and son gave the welfare money to Prevacus Inc. Favre has said in interviews that he supported Prevaccus.
Mississippi Auditor Shad Wyatt said Favre was paid for the speeches but did not show up. Favre repaid the money, but White said in October he owed $228,000 in interest.
When Favre paid the first $500,000, he said in a Facebook post that he did not know whether the money came from the welfare fund. He also said the charity has given millions of dollars to underprivileged children in Mississippi and Wisconsin.