Brett Favre continued to pressure the funding of volleyball facilities even after being told it may be illegal, according to a new filing


A series of text conversations between Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre and former Mississippi governor Phil Bryant appear to show that Favre repeatedly urged the then-governor to fund the construction of a volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi, even after Favre was told misused state money may have been illegal, according to new court files.

Funding for the facility at Favre’s alma mater was part of an investigation into millions of dollars of misappropriated public welfare funds within the Mississippi Department of Human Services, which researchers say were targeted at leaders’ personal use and awarded to prominent Mississippians such as Favre, whose daughter played volleyball in college at the time.

While Favre has not been charged with the massive social fraud scheme, he is a defendant in a civil suit brought by the state against more than 35 people and entities in an attempt to recover some of the money.

The new documents filed in Hind County court Friday by Bryant’s attorney show that Favre texted Bryant numerous times asking whether funding for the volleyball complex would be secured. Favre also texted Bryant in July 2019 about funding a high-quality football facility to attract better recruits, the filing notes said.

“Use of these funds [is] tightly controlled. Any improper use could result in a violation of federal law,” Bryant wrote to Favre on July 28, 2019, according to the filing.

“Once we get approval, we can move on. Without that approval, any expenditure could be illegal and Nancy and USM could be made to repay the federal government for all funds spent,” the then governor added, according to the filing.

Favre, however, continued to put pressure on the governor and texted him again on September 4, 2019 about the need for funding for the facility on the university’s Hattiesburg campus.

“Obviously we need your help and time is working against us. And we believe that your name is the perfect choice for this facility, and we won’t take no for an answer! You are a Southern Miss Alumni, and people should know that you are also a supporter of the university,” Favre wrote, according to the request to the governor.

Bryant replied, “We’re going to get there. This was a great meeting. But we have to obey the law. I have to[o] old for Federal Prison. [smiley face, sunglasses emoji],” the statement said.

Bryant’s attorney argued in the file that the then governor was constantly returning Favre’s requests. Bryant is not named in the civil suit and has not been criminally charged with regard to Social Security.

CNN reached out to Favre’s attorney on Sunday afternoon about the most recent filing, but has not received a response. Last week, the former quarterback’s attorney told CNN Favre, who retired after the 2010 season and a 20-year NFL career, was unaware that welfare funds were being used for the volleyball center and that his fundraising efforts for the facility were honorable.

In addition to texts between Favre and Bryant, the submission also shows Favre’s text communications with Nancy New, founder of one of the nonprofit researchers who received some of the mis-spent funds, the Mississippi Community Education Center.

According to the court, in a May 2019 text message obtained by Mississippi Today, New Favre told her she was “on board” to pay the debt of Favre’s volleyball facility with money from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a state welfare program. , and New had discussed the idea with former director of the Department of Human Services, John Davis.

New and her son have been convicted of their role in the scheme that diverted money to the volleyball center. Davis also pleaded guilty Thursday to state and federal charges related to the massive fraud scheme.

Bryant’s attorneys argued that text exchanges between Bryant and Favre showed that “Governor Bryant was not aware of what had previously happened between New, Davis and Favre regarding the funding of the USM Volleyball Center” before Favre mentioned their involvement in July 2019.

According to the filing, Bryant was the whistleblower responsible for the state auditor’s investigation into the fraud at MDHS, which ultimately revealed $94 million in mishandled and questionably handled funds under Davis’ purview, CNN previously reported.

The state auditor has said that about $77 million of the misspent funds was for the state’s welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

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