Former NFL quarterback and ex-Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant are under investigation by the FBI after it was revealed that Bryant helped Favre funnel federal welfare funds to build a new volleyball stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi, where Favre’s daughter played volleyball and he previously played football.
Text messages exchanged from 2017 and 2019 between Brett Favre, Phil Bryant, and founder of the Mississippi Community Education Center, Nancy New, show discussions of diverting $5 million in welfare funds to building Southern Miss. a new volleyball stadium on campus.
New told Favre in text, “wow, just got off the phone with Phil Bryant! He is on board with us! We will get this done!”.
In July 2019 Bryant told New he had finished up a meeting with Favre and asked her to help him on a project. Bryant, who left office in January of 2020 denied helping direct welfare funds to the stadium project, as did Favre’s attorney, Bud Holmes; claiming the NFL star knew nothing of receiving welfare funds.
Favre and Bryant have not been criminally charged. Mississippi Today reported that the volleyball stadium is not part of the state’s civil lawsuit.
Favre’s involvement in this scandal first made headlines last year when it was reported that he received $1.1 million in state welfare funds for speeches he never gave. Eventually, Favre repaid the state but has since been sued for the interest on the money, amounting to $228,000.
In a Facebook post, Favre said he didn’t know the money came from welfare funds. He also mentioned that his charity had provided millions of dollars to underprivileged children in Mississippi and Wisconsin.