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American Family Insurance Championship - Round Two

Source: Patrick McDermott / Getty

If I told you a government official made an agreement with a rich man to divert money meant for the welfare of lower-income people to fund a sports stadium no one outside of the rich person’s tax bracket asked for, you’d probably say, “Welp, that’s America for you.” But if I told you your favorite NFL quarterback of all time might be involved in the scandal, you might just show a little more alarm.

An investigative report published by Mississippi Today Tuesday revealed that former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant aided NFL legend Brett Farve in taking welfare funds and using them to help build a new volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi.

From Mississippi Today:

The texts show that the then-governor even guided Favre on how to write a funding proposal so that it could be accepted by the Mississippi Department of Human Services – even after Bryant ousted the former welfare agency director John Davis for suspected fraud.

“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 newly released texts, filed Monday by an attorney representing Nancy New’s nonprofit, show that Bryant, Favre, New, Davis and others worked together to channel at least $5 million of the state’s welfare funds to build a new volleyball stadium at University of Southern Mississippi, where Favre’s daughter played the sport. Favre received most of the credit for raising funds to construct the facility.

Imagine being a rich and enormously famous athlete and taking funds away from the most vulnerable among us to do the more practical version of buying your daughter a pony.

According to the report, New “ran a nonprofit that was in charge of spending tens of millions of flexible federal welfare dollars outside of public view.” Why TF would there ever need to be a nonprofit created for that reason? Taking money from the less fortunate and spending it elsewhere on the low really seems like the opposite thing a nonprofit organization should be meant to do. What kind of reverse Robin Hood sh-t is this?

Anyway, the shenanigans of New’s Scrooge Mc-What-The-F-ck organization landed her in what the report called “the biggest public fraud case in state history, according to the state auditor’s office,” which said the nonprofit misspent at least $77 million in welfare funds meant for people who are in need. In fact, New pleaded guilty to 13 felony counts related to welfare fraud and Davis is awaiting trial.

So far, neither Farve nor the former governor have been charged with a crime.

More from MT:

And while the state-of-the-art facility represents the single largest known fraudulent purchase within the scheme, according to one of the criminal defendant’s plea agreement, the state is not pursuing the matter in its ongoing civil complaint. Current Gov. Tate Reeves abruptly fired the attorney bringing the state’s case when he tried to subpoena documents related to the volleyball stadium.

The messages also show that a separate $1.1 million welfare contract Favre received to promote the program – the subject of many national headlines – was simply a way to get more funding to the volleyball project.

“I could record a few radio spots,” Favre texted New, according to the new filing. “…and whatever compensation could go to USM.”

Now would be a good time to remind y’all that Gov. Tate Reeves is an anti-CRT right winger who denies systemic racism even though he’s a human example of it. Just throw the whole state government away.

But anyway, what are y’all going to do about your boy Farve? This is just not a good look.