A new investigative report is shedding light on text messages that appear to suggest former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) actually assisted former NFL quarterback Brett Favre to secure welfare funding that was allegedly used to build a new volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Mississippi Today has received text message correspondence that was sent between 2017 and 2019. The conversations were part of a court filing on Monday, September 12 in the Mississippi civil lawsuit that alleges the state misappropriated welfare funding.
The text messages were filed by one of the attorneys representing the non-profit group's founder, Nancy New.
Per ESPN: "The texts show Favre, New and Bryant discussing how to divert at least $5 million in welfare funds to build a volleyball stadium at Southern Miss. Favre played football at Southern Miss, and his daughter was a volleyball player there at the time some of the texts were sent."
"If you were to pay me is there any way the media can find out where it came from and how much?" Favre asked New back in 2017.
After telling Favre that "we never have that information publicized," she also texted him the following day to give him an update on her conversation with Bryant.
"Wow, just got off the phone with Phil Bryant! He is on board with us! We will get this done!" New told Favre.
Conversations between Favre and Bryant have also been uncovered.
Mississippi Today reported:
'Just left Brett Favre,' Bryant texted nonprofit founder Nancy New in July of 2019, within weeks of Davis' departure. 'Can we help him with his project. We should meet soon to see how I can make sure we keep your projects on course.'
When Favre asked Bryant how the new agency director might affect their plans to fund the volleyball stadium, Bryant assured him, 'I will handle that… long story but had to make a change. But I will call Nancy and see what it will take,' according to the filing and a text Favre forwarded to New.
The latest development follows state auditors' claim that non-profit leaders misappropriated approximately $77 million in welfare funding.
The case is considered the biggest public fraud lawsuit in Mississippi state history.