In the year In 2017, Operation Shoestring, a Mississippi nonprofit organization, received a federal grant worth more than $200,000. But when the company wanted to renew the money after a year, the money was not available.
Mississippi’s charity scandal involves tens of millions of dollars and has implicated the state’s former governor, Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre and professional wrestlers, among others. Organizations like Operation Shoestring and the at-risk populations that rely on those funds continue to see the fury.
Langford in 2010 As he tried to renew the money in 2018, state officials It is known that the responsibility of distributing the money is costing millions of dollars. Advocates say the impact of the scandal will be felt for years.
“It makes my blood boil,” Langford said. “We are talking about funds that were supposed to be used to lift people out of poverty in poor states instead of being a real source of money for people politically and financially. It’s amazing.”
Details of the scandal continue to emerge in court records and nonprofit news organization reporting. Mississippi today. Last week, John Davis, the former executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, pleaded guilty to two federal charges and 18 state charges of embezzling federal welfare funds. The U.S. Department of Justice said Davis misused the funds to “help create sham contracts … knowing they would provide no useful service.”
His plea prompted speculation that Favre and others could be arrested. Favre received $1.1 million in gifts intended for philanthropists in lieu of speeches and speeches, a state auditor never did. And text messages included in court records show Favre was heavily involved in discussions. He raised $5 million in charitable funds to build a volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi, where his son plays volleyball.
Favre is one of them. Civil case matters Indicted by the state of Mississippi but not charged with a crime. He denied wrongdoing and returned $1.1 million to the government. His attorney, Bud Holmes, declined to comment on whether Davis’ plea deal might affect the former quarterback. “There’s no point in guessing,” said Holmes.
Favre, 52, has emerged as the public face of the scandal, despite being linked to a small portion of government funds allegedly misused by government officials. During his 20-year NFL career, he earned $140 million and millions more in endorsement deals.
But many in Mississippi are concerned that attention shouldn’t be focused solely on the former quarterback. According to the U.S. Census, one in five people in Mississippi live in poverty — the worst in the nation — including 28 percent of children. The federal government gives states money to distribute temporary assistance to needy families, but even before the scandal surfaced, Mississippians struggled to get the money.
“Less than 1 percent of eligible families in Mississippi receive TANF, and that’s because many families have found the process to be inhumane and worthless,” said CEO Aisha Nyandoro. Springboard to opportunitiesA non-profit organization working with Mississippi families. “They make it incredibly difficult for families who need these resources to access them. But others can just send a text message that they don’t need and their money will magically appear in their bank account.
In the year A 2020 Mississippi state audit found more than $94 million in federal welfare funds were spent. An Independent audit A year later, he confirmed most of the findings and was hampered by the lack of cooperation, and he said that he could not distinguish between them. The cost is about 77 million dollars It was permissible.
“To change the narrative, we must change the narrator. It’s less about Brett Favre and less about the volleyball stadium. That will be sensationalism,” Nyandoro said. “You can hide behind something like this and identify that there are real victims, there are people who didn’t receive the money they needed to fix their cars, get jobs; mothers who couldn’t afford diapers. What good could have been done in this $94 million Mississippi? How many families could have been victims? “
Despite widespread poverty in the state, court hearings reveal corrupt practices in which government officials divert charity funds to programs, people and projects that have little interest in helping the state’s most vulnerable.
Recent court filings show that Favre has repeatedly pressed state officials about payments to the volleyball facility. “Obviously, we need your help,” Favre wrote on Sept. 4, 2019 to Gov. Phil Bryant (R). “And we feel that your name is the perfect choice for this institution and we are not for the question! “
“We’re about to get there,” replied the current governor. “This was a great meeting. But we have to follow the law. i am [too] Detained for Federal Penitentiary.”
Favre previously told Mississippi Today that he had not discussed the volleyball facility project with Bryant.
The latest texts were included in a filing filed Friday by Bryant, who revealed some of the communications as he contested subpoenas seeking access to many of his records. He shared articles he exchanged with Rodney Bennett, the former governor who was also president of the University of Southern Mississippi. In the year In January 2020, shortly after Bryant left office, Bennett “asked Bryant not to do what he’s doing to get funding from state agencies and the Legislature for the volleyball facility.”
“As you know, [Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning] He has a process for how we apply for and get approval for projects, and what he’s doing is outside of those guidelines. If we can get it to stop, I’ll see ‘Time 1,'” Bennett wrote. The bottom line is that he personally guaranteed the project, and with a word and a handshake we moved on. It’s time for him to pay — it’s really that simple.
“Maybe he wants the state to pay the promise,” Bryant replied. “Like all of us, I love Brett. He’s a legend, but he has to understand what a promise means. I’ve tried many times.”[s] to explain it.”
According to the latest court filing, Favre previously wrote to Bryant in July 2019, saying, “If I’m not allowed to do this, I’m going to have to make a lot of money.”
Funding for the volleyball facility is provided by the Mississippi Community Education Center, a non-profit organization. Nancy New and her son Zach, who ran the organization, have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with investigators.
Favre tweeted. In the year But court records suggest he had at least some understanding of where the money was coming from. Favre texted Bryant in July 2019, court records show, that Nancy New would also help fund an indoor football facility, which would provide “instant credibility” to the school’s program.
Bryant responded in a text message, according to the affidavit, telling Favre that “Nancy has limited control over federal funds for grants to children and adults in low-income communities” and that “any improper use could result in a violation of federal law.” He said.
As the scandal continues to unfold, long before Favre began pushing the volleyball facility, Mississippi’s poor need federal intervention to fix a failing system, but officials hope for greater accountability and corrective action.
“There is a sense that this is not a surprise,” said Operation Schuster Langford. “It’s scary, but not surprising. The deck has been stacked with low-income people in Mississippi for generations. This scale is truly extraordinary. Basically, this is part of a long tradition of continuing to victimize people who have not been dealt a fair hand by their generation.