Between 2016 and 2019, the Mississippi Department of Human Services and nonprofits associated with it allegedly misspent more than tens of millions of dollars in federal Temporary Assistance For Needy Families funds that should have gone to the poorest families in the poorest state. More than $5 million of those funds went toward a volleyball-stadium project at the University of Southern Mississippi favored by retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre and $1.1 million went to Favre himself.
This timeline focuses on that element of the welfare scandal, including text messages that have been revealed in court filings and obtained through public records requests. The text messages are not a complete record, however. When necessary, text exchanges that were spread across multiple pages in the court filings have been stitched together.
Though New, former MDHS Director John Davis, and four others have faced criminal charges, prosecutors have accused neither1 Favre nor Bryant of a crime.
MDHS Eliminates RFP Processes
Oak Grove High School To Build Volleyball Stadium
That year, Favre’s nonprofit for “disadvantaged children,” Favre4Hope, gives $60,000 to the Oak Grove Booster Club to help fund the facility.
Favre4Hope Gives to Oak Grove, USM
Gov. Phil Bryant Appoints John Davis to MDHS
“My life has been dedicated to serving others and I believe this is a great opportunity to continue that work,” Davis says. Bryant says Davis “will serve the people of Mississippi well in his new role.”
John Davis’ First Day As MDHS Director
MDHS Approves $1 Million TANF Extension For MCEC
Families First is a state initiative that is supposed to address the needs of struggling families by directing them to resources and services that will create more stable homes and improve the lives of children.
Ribbon Cutting For Families First Mississippi
“Families First reaches into communities and organizations across the state,” New says. “Businesses, schools, churches, where we offer different types of training and services such as parenting education, job readiness, literacy for k-12, and GED services.”
MCEC Receives $4.9 Million In TANF Funds
Favre4Hope Gives $10,000 to USM Athletic Foundation
MDHS Approves Just 1.42% of TANF Applicants
The report notes that, between 2003 and 2010, the State rejected roughly half of applicants before the rejection rate soared to 89% in 2011 and continued climbing.
‘I Need Your Influence’
The governor tells Favre that he has just returned from a trip to Cuba and says that he is “all in” on the volleyball project. “We will have that thing built before you know it. One thing I know how to do is raise money 👍,” Bryant writes. The conversations include no mention of using public funds for the volleyball facility.
‘I Don’t Want To Waste Your Time’
Breleigh Favre Graduates from Oak Grove High School
Assistant AG Recommends MCEC Lease Approval
Gilbert Introduces Favre to New
“Brett and Deanna have agreed to help with fundraising for the facility. We currently have $1.2 in hand from a variety of people that have committed to the project,” he writes. Gilbert adds that the department is “interested in presenting this project as one that will benefit women student-athletes.” He says he “will find out what Brett’s schedule is Tuesday and coordinate a time he can stop by that works for everyone.”
‘A Pleasure To Meet You Guys’
“Thank you for all that you are doing and we plan to work hard to make this happen.” Favre responds, “Likewise Nancy very much a pleasure to meet you guys.”
‘He’s Loving What We Are Doing’
‘You Are The Governor And On Our Side’
"We can do that,” Bryant replies. “Just get me some numbers and I’ll find a way. Maybe USM or the Coach can call me and we’ll get on it. 👍”
Favre tells Bryant that he will have USM Athletic Director Jon Gilbert “give you everything you need.” Favre and Bryant are pictured here in 2015 (Phil Bryant/Twitter).
‘I’m Trying To Get Sponsors, Donations Etc’
“I (sic) all over it 💪,” the governor responds.
‘John Mentioned 4 Million’
‘He Is Very Leary (Sic) Of Accepting Such A Large Grant’
“Got me very uneasy,” Favre writes. “He did mention trying to find a way for John to allocate money to an entity that could then give to us that would pay for brick and mortar. I passed some info to John and of course he sent back we will find a way to make it work.”
‘To Get Ahead In The Game’
“My fear is he doesn’t except (sic) all that you and John can allocate even if it is legally signed off on,” Favre writes. “It’s obvious that you and John are tremendous assets for USM and in order for us to get ahead in the game we have to utilize you guys in every way.”
‘A PSA Is One Option’
Favre, the court filing claims, was concerned that the $4 million John Davis pledged would not be enough to build the stadium and was looking for ways to raise additional money himself.
‘The First Phase Could Be $500,000’
‘My Biggest Concern is Time Commitment’
‘The Facility Is Gonna Be More Than We Thought’
‘They Are Scared To Death It Seems’
‘Is There Anyway The Media Can Find Out?’
‘Just Got Off The Phone With Phil Bryant’
‘Wow wow wow!! Great news’
‘Meetings Went Well’
Breleigh Favre To Begin USM Volleyball Career
‘Just Finished The Meeting’
MCEC Gets $21 Million TANF Subgrant
Assistant AG Recommends Volleyball Lease Approval
IHL Approves Contract for Volleyball Stadium
The minutes say MCEC was “designed to provide schools, communities and families with educational services and training programs” and “will use the subject facilities to support their programming efforts for South Mississippi.”
‘We Will Get The Rest’
New assures Favre “we will get the rest” and mentions holding a fundraiser, MCEC’s court filings show. She tells Favre she will send him a “draft proposal to do a couple psa’s, etc. for Families First,” referring to the initiative that includes her nonprofit, MCEC.
‘Proud And Honored To Announce This Facility’
‘I Saw The Gov Last Night’
Lease Agreement In Effect
MCEC Makes First Volleyball Payment
MCEC Makes Second Volleyball Payment
‘Nancy Santa Came Today’
New tells Favre that after the holidays, they can “get our calendars together on a few activities,” but “if we asked you to do something and you can’t, it is ok. We will get it all worked out.”
Beach Volleyball Enters The Chat
Favre4Hope Gives $10,000 to USM Athletic Foundation
‘The Bids Are In’
“”Well, let’s see what the lowest bid comes back with and then if we need to, we will roll up our sleeves and get the rest,” she writes. “We can still have the fundraiser at the Governor’s mansion, too. We can use Phil’s business list that he offered earlier. I will be thinking and hopefully there will be something in the new budget for Families First to offer.”
‘I’m Still Trying To Save Money On Vball Facility’
The governor tells Favre he is turkey hunting in Nebraska, but will “get on it.” He sends Favre a photo of himself in camouflage holding two turkeys.
‘I Will Pay For The Work’
Later, Bryant texts Favre to update him on the lockers for the volleyball facility. “I got Chuck Davis in Laurel ready to come down and get on the Lockers,” Bryant writes. “He is a cabinet builder and does all the work for Ben Napier on their (HGTV show) HOME TOWN. … If someone will give him a call he will get on it and I will pay for the work 👍 … I am also going to reach out to Ponch and see if we can’t get a fundraiser in Hattiesburg put together 👍”
The text does not include mention of using public funds.
Favre Receives Second Payment
WDAM Reports on USM Beach Volleyball
MCEC Gets $10.6 Million TANF Subgrant
Breleigh Favre’s Last Indoor Volleyball Match
Beach Volleyball Team Makes Debut
‘An Evening of Christmas Cheer’
Gov. Bryant Gives Nancy New ‘Service’ Award
The Northside Sun publishes a photo from MDHS showing New posing with Boyles to her right, next to Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant, MDHS Deputy Director Chip Butler, Republican U.S. House Rep. Michael Guest and Umesh Sanjanwala, who works for U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s office.
Favre Charity Gives $60,000 to USM Athletic Foundation
‘They Also Want to Discuss The New Facility At USM’
No details of the meeting are provided, but in Phil Bryant’s Sept. 23, 2022, court filing, Bryant will later say he “did not request the meeting, did not attend the meeting, did not participate in the meeting, and has no knowledge of what was discussed.”
‘Ben Helped Us With The Lockers’
USM Volleyball Team Announces Inaugural Schedule
‘We Almost Have Final Plans For The Beach’
‘We Are On Board!’
Gov. Bryant Alerts Auditor of Potential MDHS Fraud
‘I Am Feeling Good’
Nancy New Meets With Phil Bryant
MDHS Announces John Davis’ ‘Retirement’
But in his court filing, Davis’ nephew, Austin Smith, will claim that “shortly before John Davis resigned as director of DHS, John Davis explained to family members that Governor Bryant had told him (John Davis) that he (John Davis) was going to ‘fucking jail.’”
‘I Am Ok, Just Politics And People’
‘I Can Try And Delay As Long As Possible’
Favre texts her several hours later to say he is “meeting with Governor Bryant” and asks if there is anything he can “say to him that could help.” New says to tell Bryant “how much we work together on youth development, sports programs that instill leadership and future work skills.”
‘Had To Make A Change’
”Her ideas for instilling leadership, workshops for career development and youth sports programs and held (sic) within our vision of the best facilities possible at USM,” Favre continues.
”I will handle that…,” Bryant replies. “Long story but had to make a change. But I will call Nancy and see what it will take. 👍”
Favre shares the governor’s reply with Nancy New, MCEC filings show. This is the first exchange among the publicly available texts in which Favre appears to imply to Bryant that public funds may be involved. Bryant’s later September 2022 court filing will describe this exchange as the point at which “Governor Bryant first learned that MDHS was involved with funding the USM Volleyball Center Project.”
‘All The Good Things We Are Working On’
‘He Wants Me To Continue To Help You’
Phil Bryant Meets With Nancy New
In later September 2022 court filings, Bryant’s attorney will describe the meeting this way: “Governor Bryant and one of his staff attorneys met with New on July 18, 2019. Bryant explained that he supported the USM Volleyball Center Project, but MDHS must comply with federal and state laws. Bryant further explained that the state auditor’s investigation of MDHS may provide clarity on the matter.”
‘Nancy Said Meeting Went Very Well’
“Working with her. Lots of challenges but we will do our best,” Bryant replies.
Bryant Discusses Job Opening With Freeze
Bryant tells him that he may gave him a call later. “Have a Agency Director position open at Dept. of Human Services that needs a compassionate leader,” the governor writes. Freeze says he is “happy to talk” about it.
‘Don’t Want To Get Anyone In Trouble’
After a brief section that is redacted in the court filings, Bryant tells Favre that State Auditor Shad White “is reviewing all the Contracts at DHS which Funds Families First,” the filings show. “Hope we get clearance soon. Don’t want to get anyone in trouble for improper expenditures. Should know soon.”
Favre does not appear to respond to Bryant’s legal concerns. “As far as families first and facilities goes I think we can do so much together. It would be beneficial for both.” Bryant says he hopes “we get clearance.” Minutes later, Favre asks Bryant what his “gut” tells him will happen. “I have to come up with a lot of money if this doesn’t get clearance,” the retired quarterback tells the governor.
“It’s the State Auditor that will give the approval,” Bryant replies. “Has to have legal authority. I will check today.”
‘See What The Contract With Southern Miss Is All About’
Auditor Announces ‘Significant Findings’
‘They Couldn’t Say They Were Done With Nancy Yet’
“(New) said the program at usm is a health and fitness program,” the staff attorney tells Bryant. “The contract is with usm to rent buildings to put on this program. Brett volunteers his time. Nancy is getting a one pager.”
Bryant asks if the staff attorney could get the auditor to tell them “if the USM Contract is proper.” When the staff attorney says he or she will ask, Bryant says that if it is proper “then we should move ahead since they are planning it to happen.” He asks if New has “heard any further from the Auditor since Friday?”
“I don’t think so but the auditor’s office said they couldn’t say they were done with Nancy yet,” the attorney replies. “They think the John Davis, dibiasi (sic) investigation will take another month or so to wrap up. They haven’t found any additional info since what they reported (4) weeks ago.”
Bryant Announces John Davis’ Replacement
‘We Need To Get His Approval’
Favre shares a text message with New that he says is from “Phil”: “just back in town. Met with new Director today. It will take time to get the Auditors Report. Working on it..”
‘It Will Take Some Time To Get The Auditors Report’
‘Not Sure What To Make Of That’
Brett Favre Asks For Football Facility Funds
“As I suspected Deion’s son asked where the indoor facility was and I said we don’t have one but are hoping to break ground in less than two years,” Favre writes. “Now that will not happen without your help/commitment!!! I know we have the Vball to complete first and I’m asking a lot with that and I believe 100% that if you can get this done Nancy will reach and help many and in the recruiting war will give USM instant credibility and become relevant again.”
The governor again warns Favre that the funds Nancy New controls have legal limits. “Nancy has some limited control over Federal Funds in the form of Grants for Children and adults in the Low Income Community,” Bryant writes. “Use of these funds are tightly controlled. Any improper use could result in violation of Federal Law. Auditors are currently reviewing the use of these funds by Families First. As soon as the Audit is complete, we will know if the project at USM is a proper expenditure.” He explains that neither he nor New “can make this decision” and that use of the funds requires approval from DHS and the state auditor.
Without that approval any expenditure could be illegal and Nancy and USM could be made to repay the Federal Government any and all funds spent. That’s why we are waiting till it is approved.”
John Davis’ Last Day At MDHS
Christopher Freeze Becomes MDHS Interim Director
‘I Am Very Anxious To Get In There’
‘Mine and Nancys Project’
Bryant Asks Staff Attorney About Proposal
“yes sir, it should have been in your briefing book the other day,” the attorney replies. “I’ll make sure a copy is in there today.”
‘The Dewey Phillip Bryant Center For Excellence’
New’s proposal says that MCEC, MDHS, the USM Athletic Foundation and Brett Favre “have engaged in a collaborative partnership aimed at providing evidence-based and research-based resources and initiatives to individuals, families and communities throughout Mississippi.” It says the initiative’s goals will include topics such as obesity, bullying, soft skills, financial literacy and leadership training. The proposal promises to “serve as a model program in the country and a catalyst for sustainable, systemic change.” It estimates that between $1.5 million and $2 million “is needed to adequately fund this project.”
‘We Are Going To Get This Done’
Bryant Asks About Bricks and Mortar
“She said we can’t use for brick and mortar,” Favre writes. He shares a message from Nancy New about a need for “project managers” that says the proposal is “all about teaching, education, obesity prevention, exercise, etc.”
‘Teaching, Education, Obesity Prevention, Exercise’
‘He Is A Politician So I’m A Little Uneasy’
Favre responds and says that “Phil is adamant it will get done” but that “he is a politician so I’m a little uneasy.” New agrees, and says she hopes “he will stay steady and help us get it done.” Favre says he will “keep asking weekly.”
‘Can You Talk For A Quick Second?’
‘Nancy Has to Provide The Proper Documentation’
Nancy New tells Brett Favre that she has “given the proper information to several people several times” but they should “definitely submit it again today,” MCEC court filings show. She promises to share “a couple of my real thoughts with (Favre) on some folks” when she has time. Brett Favre tells her that the governor has seen her proposal “but hint hint that you need to reword it to get it accepted.”
”Reword?? Wonder what he means,” New replies, saying that she will “call now to get a little more information from someone on the inside.” Bryant’s Sept. 23, 2022, court filing will call Favre’s “characterization of the governor’s message … far from accurate.”
‘I Would Do That If I Were Her’
“If you are saying she needs to reword and resubmit I’ll tell her,” Favre writes. Bryant tells Farvre that he “would do that if I were her.” Favre agrees to tell her, and tells Bryant that “any other advice is welcomed since (we) want to get this accomplished.”
After Bryant does not respond, Favre says New “said she would redo but sure would like some insight for guidance if possible.” Bryant replies with a “👍” emoji, and Favre persists: “Please let me know if I can tell Nancy anything that can help get this done.” Bryant’s reply in the texts is redacted with black bars.
‘Hopefully She Can Put More Details In The Proposal’
“That’s all I know to tell her,” Bryant replies. “Hopefully she can put more details in the proposal. Like how many times the facility will be used and how many child (sic) will be served and for what specific purpose,” the text message says. Favre shares the text with Nancy New, MCEC court filings show.
‘A Way To Get It Done Without Actually Saying It’
”I really feel like he is trying to figure out a way to get it done without actually saying it.” Gov. Bryant’s later Sept. 23, 2022, court filing will dispute Favre’s characterization.
‘We Will See Soon’
“We will see soon,” Bryant responds. “I would have listed the number of people proposed to be reached by the program and the number of employees necessary to achieve these goals. Taking off from Ghana so this may be my last message for a while.”
‘Let’s Send It’
The next morning, Favre asks New if she would like for him “to send the latest copy” to Bryant; she says she is “going through it again in a little bit and then let’s send it.”
‘Looks Much Better’
‘The Brett Favre Center For Excellence’
Proposal Estimate Climbs
‘Brett Needs More To Do In His Life Just Now’
“Yes, Nancy is blowing me up, too,” Freeze responds. “Unless there is additional information you would like MDHS to consider, I’m not inclined to approve at this time. I don’t think now is the time to give them $2 million.” Freeze tells Bryant he believes there are “other ways to accomplish their goals than by creating a center at USM.” He offers to talk with Bryant if he would like.
“As always I am not going to interfere. You got a better understanding than I do of these projects. I think Brett was told it was going to get done by the previous Director,” Bryant replies, referring to John Davis. “One of the reasons that he is a former director.” Bryant’s next message is redacted.
‘Nancy And I Will Come And Meet With You’
‘I Got Called Into This Game Late’
“I got called into this game late,” the governor responds, saying he’s headed to Taiwan and that they need to schedule the meeting with Chris Freeze when they return. “Not sure who made the deal for a million,” Bryant writes. Favre tells him that “if anyone can make this work you can” and wishes him a “great trip.”
‘Governor Said We Should Meet With Him And New Director’
Meeting Between New, Favre, Bryant and Freeze
‘I Am To Old For Federal Prison’
“We are going to get there,” Bryant replies. “But we have to follow the law. I am to (sic) old for Federal Prison.😎”
Favre continues to press the governor on whether he thinks the funding will get approved, but Bryant says it is “about Nancy and her play book” and that “it’s not going to happen till November.” Favre says he hopes it will happen “before someone goes out of office.” Bryant replies with a thumbs-up emoji.
Freeze Approves Some Funds For MCEC, Denies Others
Freeze tells New that he is denying her request for $804,213.10 in other funds because they would violate federal rules. “MDHS does not have and has never had the authority to circumvent federal regulations or instruction with federal funds nor do we have the authority to instruct subgrantees to do so,” he writes.
‘A Potentially Criminal Offense’
Bryant tells Favre that he “would ask for an extension” and alludes to a “Bid process the Director talked about,” saying it is “state law” and that “to override or not obey the law would be a potentially criminal offense.”
“Neither of us want an investigation by the Auditor. I promise you, there is nothing more I can do except follow the law,” Bryant writes. Favre says he will “ask for an extension.”
‘She Should Be Worried’
“Yes sir. She’s relentless,” the staff attorney replies. The next two responses from Bryant are redacted in the texts. The third text is visible. “Nancy is worrying,” Bryant texts. “She know (sic) what they were doing was wrong.”
“100%. She should be worried,” the staff attorney replies. Bryant responds with a “👍.” After more redacted messages, the governor copies the staff attorney on a response he received from Nancy New after apparently telling her that he could not meet with her.
“It isn’t about the audit or DHS at all,” reads the copied text that Bryant says is from New. “Actually, it’s about me but that’s ok. I understand.”
Tate Reeves Films Ad at Nancy New’s Private School
During the 2019 campaign, Reeves accepted a $5,000 donation from New, while Hood accepted a $2,000 donation.
‘I Also Know How To Make That Play’
“I also know how to make that play🏈. Keep the faith,” the governor adds. Favre says it “would help me out tremendously if you can get it done. Sure will make it easier on me.”
‘I Have Been Pushing Tate So Hard’
“That’s one reason I have been pushing Tate so hard. He has to win. Then we set up a meeting on Wellness Center at USM,” Bryant replies. He urges Favre to send Reeves a “good luck” text.
Brett Favre is pictured here in 2019 with then-Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and then-Gov. Phil Bryant. (Photo Tate Reeves/Twitter)
Tate Reeves Wins Governor’s Race
‘John Davis Is Gone Because of This Type of Issue’
‘He Was Assured By Nancy It Would Be Funded’
In response, Freeze says the “proposals are due November 15” and that the “committee will begin their work the following Monday” with results and notifications by Dec. 13. Freeze asks Bryant how strongly he feels about the volleyball project, and Bryant says he is “a supporter” and thinks that “it can be a big help to a lot of people.” Bryant relays Freeze’s information to Favre.
‘I Think Your Meeting With Nancy Tomorrow’
Bryant thanks him, and tells him they “are working on it for sure” and that he will know more when he meets with Nancy New.
MSDH Intends to Award MCEC More TANF Funds
‘Someone Was Definitely Pulling For Us’
Christopher Freeze will later respond to these messages in an interview with the Mississippi Free Press in September 2022, saying that “the governor can send smiley faces back, but within two weeks he said don’t fund her and don’t fund Christi Webb at the Family Resource Center.”
Volleyball Stadium Completed
Favre Charity Gives $46,817 to USM Athletic Foundation
‘I Can’t Borrow Any More Money To Hold On’
New tells Bryant that she will have to lay off around 60 to 73 people and that they will need to start closing their Family First Centers across the state. “DHS already owes my organization a huge amount of reimbursements from the previous contract,” she writes. “I can’t borrow any more money to hold on. She asks Bryant to “check on the status of those contracts under my name (MCEC).”
“Let me see what I can find out..” Bryant replies. “[B]ut he already knew the answer,” the governor’s late Sept. 23, 2022, court filing will say. “Bryant had instructed Freeze to cease further funding of MCEC.”
Prosecutors Quietly File Indictments Against News
Tate Reeves Becomes Governor
Freeze Resigns, Black Becomes Interim Director
‘We’ll Be Opening An $8 Million Facility’
‘I Need You Big Time On This’
‘Had A Talk With Tate’
Favre Asks Reeves For Help
At 3:55 p.m., Favre sends a followup text: “Failed to mention but there will be state programs using the facility like seminars,teen rallies,obesity campaigns etc…. Again thanks I know you have many requests.” The athlete sent Reeves one more follow-up text the next day at 7:15 a.m.: “And name it after Governor Bryant”
‘He Wants The State To Pay Off His Promises’
Bennett greets the governor, then shares his thoughts on Favre’s actions. “I’ve asked Brett to not do the things he’s doing to seek funding from state agencies and the legislature for the volleyball facility,” he writes. “As you know, IHL has a process of how we request and get approval for projects and what he’s doing is outside those guidelines. 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.”
“That’s (sic) was my thoughts,” Bryant responds. “Maybe he wants the State to pay off his promises. Like all of us I like Brett. He is a legend but he has to understand what a pledge means. I have tried many times to explain that to him.”
Prosecutors File More Indictments
Investigation Goes Public; Six Arrested In ‘Sprawling Conspiracy’
News outlets across the state and country report on what officials call the largest welfare-fraud case in Mississippi history. While prosecutors describe multiple schemes related to TANF funds and Nancy New’s nonprofits, they do not mention Brett Favre or the volleyball stadium.
‘I Want You To See What Your Trying To Help Me For’
Reeves responds, saying he “will definitely appoint” Hoda to the chiropractic board “based on your recommendation,” but the texts do not show a response to Favre’s text about the facility.
Brett Favre Persists
“This has been the problem,” Bryant writes. “Not sure what funding will be available in the future.”
“Yeah I’m well aware of it,” Favre replies. “I think the angle Tate is looking at is a bond bill according to [name redacted]. You think that has a chance?” Bryant tells him that bonds “can sure be used for Brick and mortar.” When Favre asks if there is anything he can do, Bryant says he may “want to meet with Tate when you can.”
“I did and he said he would get with his team,” Favre says. Bryant tells him he will “just have to wait till a bond bill is drafted and hope you make the list👍.”
Daily Journal Reports On Frozen Funds
First Reporting on Favre, Volleyball Stadium
The story also cites a linked statement by University of Southern Mississippi spokesman James Coll on how the volleyball-court lease was approved: “Coll said in a statement that University and outside counsel, the attorney general’s office and the Institutes of (sic) Higher Learning board all approved the Wellness Center agreement. He added it is unlikely Mississippi Community Education Center will remain a partner.”
Gov. Reeves Appoints Bob Anderson to MDHS
Student Newspaper Condemns Volleyball Project
Auditor Reveals $1.1 Million Payments to Favre
“Due to the inability to verify that any work was performed in order to fulfill the contract, and due to the unreasonable amount paid, the entire payment of $1,100,000 paid in FY 2018 is questioned,” White’s audit says.
Favre Responds to Revelations
He tweets that he has “never received monies for obligations I didn’t meet” and that he “was unaware that the money being dispersed was paid for out of funds not intended for that purpose,” vowing to “refund the full amount back to Mississippi.”
Favre Returns $500,000
Auditor Responds to IHL Commissioner
“The thrust of your objection seems to be that IHL ‘did not approve’ (emphasis is yours) a sublease agreement between the USM Athletic Foundation and the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC),” White wrote, pointing to the October 2017 IHL board minutes that included information on the approval of the volleyball contract.
“IHL cannot claim ignorance of this fact. That assertion flies in the face of your own minutes,” he wrote. “If IHL objected to the arrangement with MCEC, then the time to voice that objection was when the matter came up for a vote, not after the State Auditor pointed it out. … Instead of quibbling, perhaps your time could be better spent providing the public with a plan for the Wellness Center to be used by the at-risk community in Hattiesburg and providing that to me in a letter. This way, the TANF money that was paid for the Center might be used to benefit the community it was intended to benefit.”
IHL Notes Special Assistant Attorney General’s Role
Brett DiBiase Enters Guilty Plea
Favre Charity Gives $26,175 to USM Athletic Foundation
Federal Prosecutors Indict Nancy New, Zach New
Forensic Audit Released
Anne McGrew Pleads Guilty
Auditor Demands Favre Pay $828,000
Favre Returns $600,000
‘I Would Never Accept Money For No-Show Appearances’
”Of course the money was returned because I would never knowingly take funds meant to help our neighbors in need, but for Shad White to continue to push out this lie that the money was for no-show events is something I cannot stay silent about,” Favre writes. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
‘These Are Lies, Brett Favre’
Auditor Refers Favre, Others to Attorney General
‘That Volleyball Thing Kept Coming Up’
Nancy New and Son Plead Guilty
Construction Project ‘Disguised’
MSDH Files Civil Suit Against 38, Including Favre
The State has already hired attorney Brad Pigott, who once served as a U.S. attorney under President Bill Clinton, to lead the case. The complaint does not mention the $5 million in TANF funds that Davis, New and MCEC steered toward the USM volleyball projects Favre wanted.
Pigott Issues Subpoenas Regarding Volleyball Projects
MDHS Fires Pigott
Nancy New Attorneys Subpoena Bryant
Reeves: Pigott Was ‘Too Focused On The Political Side’
Mississippi Plans To Hire Jones Walker Law Firm
Breleigh Favre Leaves USM For LSU
‘Governor Bryant Knew’
“The evidence detailed herein suggests, quite strongly, that Governor Bryant knew MDHS funds were being sought by Favre to construct the Volleyball Facility; approved of the use of MDHS funds to construct the Volleyball Facility, and participated in securing MDHS funds for construction of the Volleyball Facility,” the Sept. 22, 2022, court filing says.
“This evidence of involvement by MDHS executives, including Governor Bryant, directly impacts MCEC’s Defenses and Counterclaims to MCEC’s claims, including its Claim to recover $1,100,000 paid to Favre Enterprises, Inc. for construction of the Volleyball Facility.”
Bryant denies all accusations of wrongdoing. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
Mississippi Today Reports Allegations Against Bryant
The story says Bryant’s attorney declined to comment, but does quote a staff member of Gov. Tate Reeves who accuses Mississippi Today of ignoring or not naming former Attorney General Jim Hood’s potential role in the welfare scandal. The report notes that the publication has repeatedly noted that the attorney general's office recommended the volleyball contract for approval.
Wolfe will follow up this report with another on Sept. 26, revealing an unsealed court filing in which Teddy DiBiase, Jr., (pictured with Gov. Bryant in 2015) a defendant in the civil case, previously made those allegations.
John Davis Pleads Guilty to Federal, State Crimes
Bryant Reveals Text Messages
Mississippi Today Issues Editor’s Note on Familial Relation
Reports Says Favre Charity Gave $60,000 to Facility
MCEC Court Filing Reveals USM’s Concerns
Favre Hires Ex-Trump Attorney
'I Have Done Nothing Wrong'
“Brett entered into a private agreement to record a publicity pitch for a not-for-profit,” Fox News reports Herschmann saying. “Like most celebrities, he didn’t want his source of income to be public. That’s why he asked would it become public. He had no idea that the payment came from TANF and had he known, he never would have accepted the money.” (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke, File)
'It Is Hypocritical'
“It is hypocritical, for example, for Nancy New to provide her personal text messages with Brett Favre to MCEC so that it could then include them as 30 separately filed exhibits … available to the public—while claiming at the same time in this Motion that Nancy New should not have to disclose any of her text messages to MDHS,” the agency argues.
In a separate motion, MDHS also asks the court to reject John Davis’s request for a stay as well as for any of the other 37 defendants.
This timeline was last updated on Oct. 11, 2022.
Editor’s Note: Jones Walker provides legal services to the Mississippi Journalism and Education Group, which produces the Mississippi Free Press. Attorney Brad Pigott has also donated to the Mississippi Free Press in the past. Christopher Freeze and Shad White have submitted Free Press opinion columns. Neither the law firm, Pigott, White nor Freeze have any influence on our coverage.