Texts Reveal Brett Favre's Role In Mississippi Welfare Scandal
By Jason Hall
September 15, 2022
Newly released text messages sent by Brett Favre show that the Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback was more involved in pushing for millions of federal welfare funds to be diverted in his home state of Mississippi than previously known, Mississippi Today's Anna Wolfe, who initially reported that Favre had received the federal grant funds, reported.
The messages, which were released in a court filing this week, showed that Favre pushed for at least $5 million in funds initially intended to help poor families instead be paid toward a new volleyball facility at his alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi, where his daughter played the sport.
Additionally, messages showed that the former quarterback sought reassurance from nonprofit founder Nancy New -- 13 felony counts of bribery, fraud and racketeering in relation to the incident -- that the public would never become aware that he was attempting to receive millions in grants that were coming from the Mississippi welfare agency, NBC News reports.
"If you were to pay me is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?" Favre asked New in August 2017.
New told Favre, "we never have that information publicized," before notifying him that then-Governor Phil Bryant was "on board with us" and "we will get this done" the following day.
Farve later sent a text to New in December 2017 confirming he'd received the payment.
"Nancy Santa came today and dropped some money off,” Favre wrote with two smiley faces. “Thank you my goodness thank you. We need to set up the promo soon. Your way to kind.”
Favre had publicly claimed that he didn't know the funds were welfare dollars and the messages don't prove otherwise.
The quarterback has stated his innocence and acknowledging that he paid back $1.1 million to the state, although an auditor said he still owes an additional $228,000 in interest.
"Brett Favre has been honorable throughout this whole thing," his attorney, Bud Holmes, told Mississippi Today.
NBC News initially reported that Favre was questioned by the FBI in relation to the situation, however, there is no indication that the Hall of Famer is the target of the FBI's criminal investigation.
Mississippi is the poorest state in the U.S., with an estimated 200,000 children living below the poverty line, according to U.S. Census data via NBC News.
Last month, Governor Tate Reeves announced Jackson, the state's largest and capital city, was without a reliable water supply after its main water treatment facility failed, which is an ongoing crisis.
A full report can be viewed on Mississippi Today's website.