Sep 22, 2022 - Sports

Texts reveal former NFL quarterback Brett Favre's alleged role in welfare scheme

Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre is seen at Levi's Stadium on Oct. 7, 2019. Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Text messages made public this month shed new light on former NFL quarterback Brett Favre's alleged role in a yearslong welfare scheme as he remains embroiled in a civil lawsuit.

Driving the news: The text messages filed in court last week and first published by Mississippi Today show that former Gov. Phil Bryant (R) helped Favre in his alleged scheme to divert federal welfare money to build a volleyball stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi, with a price tag of more than $5 million.

  • Favre's daughter played volleyball at USM before transferring to LSU in August.

Details: "If you were to pay me is there any way the media could find out where it came from and how much?" Favre asked in 2017 regarding a $1.1 million proposal for promotional efforts that actually went toward building the stadium, per the New York Times.

The other side: Bud Holmes, Favre's lawyer, told Axios his client "did absolutely nothing wrong" and that the people who paid Favre didn't want that information to be public.

  • He maintains that Favre was paid in advance for appearances, which had contracts that said he would be contacted to make said appearances. But he was never asked to show up, Holmes said.
  • Favre took the money he was paid and used it for the volleyball court, his attorney said, adding that the NFL star gave millions of his own money for it too.

The texts also reveal that Bryant guided Favre in writing a funding proposal that would be approved by the Mississippi Department of Human Services, per Mississippi Today.

Meanwhile, Bryant had fired John Davis, former executive director of the agency, for alleged fraud.

  • Davis pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to defraud the state out of millions of dollars in federal funds, per the Justice Department.

Background: A state audit in 2020 found that Mississippi misspent tens of millions of dollars of welfare funds, including $1.1 million that went to Favre for speaking engagements he did not attend, Axios' Julia Shapero reports.

  • While Favre eventually paid back the state $1.1 million, the Department of Human Services filed a lawsuit in May accusing Favre and others of misspending and wrongly receiving welfare funds.
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