Sports Illustrated is pulling back many more layers on the Mississippi welfare scheme and they are suggesting that Brett Favre had far more involvement than previously reported.
The new report examined previously unsealed text messages between the Hall of Fame quarterback, former Gov. Phil Bryant, nonprofit executive director Nancy New, and several other participants who are accused of diverting public funds intended for the state’s most vulnerable citizens to the construction of a new volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Favre is accused of directing the redirection of federal welfare funds to non-welfare-related organizations, including a $5 million donation to the University of Southern Mississippi’s volleyball facilities, where his daughter played.
Via the report:
“At times, the former quarterback comes off as comically clueless. Often, he seems highly manipulative. Throughout, he was relentless in his pursuit of government money. After (state welfare agency director John) Davis was forced out of his job at the Department of Human Services and the scheme started to splinter, Favre kept pushing. At one point he told New, “I’ll keep asking weekly.” Shortly before the arrests, as he fretted about securing cash, he wrote in a text, “I [can’t] focus on anything else with this looming.”
Three years later, something else looms over Favre: the distinct possibility he will be indicted.”
Many of the text messages provided to Sports Illustrated were not previously made public as Bryant himself tried to fight to ensure he would not have to turn over any messages. However, Sports Illustrated obtained many of those private conversations through phone records from other parties.
One of the most embarrassing text conversations occurred shortly after Bryant fired Davis for unwittingly being exposed as a result of the initial probe. Favre was anxious that the money would not be forthcoming, so he traveled around New to speak with Bryant:
“Favre then went right back to lobbying the governor for money. This time, Favre told Bryant they were “planning to do workshops and youth clinics” in the volleyball facility, though there is no indication those workshops and clinics ever happened. Favre also told Bryant he paid for “3/4” of the project himself, and “the rest was a joint project with her and John which was saving me 1.8 million.” How Favre came up with those numbers is a mystery.
Favre wrote to Bryant: “I was informed today that [New] may not be able to fund her part. I and we need your help very badly governor and sorry to even bring this up.”
Bryant should have seen it was time to end this. But the governor just wouldn’t quit Brett Favre.
Bryant texted him: “I will handle that … long story but had to make a change. But I will call Nancy and see what it will take.”
Favre apparently met with Bryant for less than an hour. When the quarterback departed, Bryant texted New: “Just left Brett Favre. Can we help him with his project. We should meet soon to see how I can make sure we keep your projects on course.” New told Favre she was meeting with Bryant two days later.
Favre wrote back: “I love John so much. And you too.”
Favre claimed his agent regularly sends him offers for various products and brands and denied any connection to the scandal, but his texts to New told a different story.
As for his other legal proceedings, Favre recently dropped his defamation case against Pat McAfee, the former NFL kicker turned media personality. However, his defamation suits against state auditor Shad White and fellow Hall of Famer and Fox Sports personality Shannon Sharpe are still active.
Here’s how fans are reacting to the new news: