Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre and ex-Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant allegedly plotted together to use welfare funds meant for poor residents in Mississippi to build a new volleyball stadium, according to an investigative report from Mississippi Today.
Based on never-before-seen text messages sent between Favre and Bryant from 2017 to 2019, it was revealed that the former Packers quarterback, 52, collaborated with Bryant to funnel at least $5 million of the state's welfare funds to build the stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi, where his daughter played volleyball.
The texts were filed Monday as part of Mississippi's ongoing lawsuit over incorrectly used welfare funds. An attorney representing nonprofit founder Nancy New, who has already pleaded guilty to 13 felony counts of bribery, fraud and racketeering for taking part in the scheme, submitted the text messages.
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic Brett Favre
In the released texts, Favre asks New, who is the founder of the Mississippi Community Education Center and was hired to distribute the welfare funds to help the state, "If you were to pay me is there anyway media can find out where it came from and how much?"
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?
Nancy New: Nah. Oh yeah, the governor is fully on board!@ayewolfe five years later: https://t.co/rWXHRXISsu pic.twitter.com/wo3QuIYXaY
— Adam Ganucheau (@GanucheauAdam) September 13, 2022
New replied, "No, we never had that information publicized. I understand you being uneasy about that though. Let's see what happens on Monday with the conversation with some of the folks at Southern. Maybe it'll click with them. Hopefully."
Favre went on to write, "Ok thanks," to which New responded, "Wow, just got off the phone with Phil Bryant! He is on board with us! We will get this done!"
"Awesome I needed to hear that for sure," Favre answered back.
Favre, who played football for the school, was credited for raising money to fund the stadium project.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Mississippi has the highest poverty rate in the United States.
New pleaded guilty to 13 felony counts following the scam, but neither Bryant nor Favre have been charged with any crime, per Yahoo! News.
Favre's attorney, Bud Holmes, told Mississippi Today that the athlete did not know that the funding came from the state's welfare fund.
Inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016, Favre played college football at Southern Mississippi and was selected in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. After being traded to the Green Bay Packers, he led the team to 11 playoff appearances.
Last year, Favre was asked to repay $600,000 to the state of Mississippi after he was hired to give speeches to promote their welfare programs but did not follow through. Mississippi Auditor Shad White said last October that Favre still owed $228,000 in interest.