Months after being informed by then Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant that a misuse of state welfare funds could be illegal, Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre “continued to press” for them.
Favre sought out fundin for a $6 million volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi and wanted to request an additional $3.8 million for programs at the facility. Favre’s daughter played volleyball at the school.
Bryant had texted Favre that “Use of these funds [is] tightly controlled” and “Any improper use could result in violation of Federal Law. Auditors are currently reviewing the use of these funds,” according to a court filing.
However, despite Bryant laying down the law, the former Green Bay Packer was “not taking No for an answer” while giving the former governor a slight guilt trip.
“We obviously need your help big time and time is working against us,” Favre wrote. “And we feel that your name is the perfect choice for this facility and we are not taking No for an answer! You are a Southern Miss Alumni, and folks need to know you are also a supporter of the University.”
Bryant responded, “We are going to get there. This was a great meeting. But we have to follow the law. I am to[o] old for Federal Prison.”
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Favre asked the former governor to push current Gov. Tate Reeves, whom Favre had also spoken with himself. Then-president of the school Rodney Bennett had also told Bryant that he told Favre “not to do the things he’s doing to seek funding from state agencies and the legislature.”
“As you know, IHL [Mississippi’s higher education system] has a process of how we request and get approval for projects and what he’s doing is outside those guidelines,” Bennett wrote in a text. “I will see, for the ‘umpteenth time’ if we can get him to stand down. The bottom line is he personally guaranteed the project, and on his word and handshake we proceeded. It’s time for him to pay up — it really is just that simple.”
Favre is among the defendants in the state’s civil lawsuit over misspent welfare funds – at least $77 million were misspent or stolen, and it’s the largest case of public fraud in the state’s history. Six people were arrested in February 2020, and the person who secured the funding for Favre’s project plead guilty.
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