/Brett Favre used fame and favors to pull welfare dollars

Brett Favre used fame and favors to pull welfare dollars

Favre was seeking funds to support a startup that would make him wealthy or to build a new volleyball stadium at Mississippi State University. Favre was not shy about making deals for others, or trading on his fame and connections to get a financial bailout. Favre, the Hall of Fame quarterback, and home-state hero had access to Gov. Phil Bryant and those who managed the state’s welfare spending had special access to Favre, the Hall of Fame quarterback and home-state hero. Part 1: Phil Bryant wanted a payout when welfare funds flowed towards Brett Favre Favre claimed that Nancy New, a nonprofit director, gave him $5million in grant funds to construct a volleyball stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi. This payment could be part of upcoming civil litigation. Prevacus, a pharmaceutical company Favre supported, received $2.15million in allegedly stolen funds. Favre also received $1.1 million in welfare money personally. Favre made the following suggestion during his pre-election dealings for Prevacus and the volleyball stadium. Many of those who received the funds said that they wouldn’t have taken money from the poor. The narrow focus on TANF in Prevacus’s case misses the fact that nearly all federal grants Mississippi Department of Human Services manages have to do to protecting vulnerable people. There’s no reason for MDHS grant money not to be used to support private businesses. Favre’s fees or requests for money led to at least $8 million in misspend auditors being identified as part of Mississippi’s wider welfare scandal. Favre was paid more than $1million to become a spokesperson for Families First for Mississippi by New’s nonprofit called Mississippi Community Education Center. Although he has since returned the funds, the auditor still claims Favre owes $228,000 interest on the money he received in error. Bob Anderson, the current MDHS Director, stated last October that Favre and others would face civil charges. However, the department is still waiting for approval from the attorney General. Favre claimed that he didn’t know that the money he received was from a program meant to aid the poor. However, Mississippi Today has found text messages that show that Favre knew he was dealing with government grants. Favre was not charged with any crime in the scheme. Mississippi Today declined to interview Favre. Below is a summary of Favre’s interactions with Mississippi officials and welfare-funded programs. Mississippi Today has reviewed hundreds upon pages of written communications. These are reproduced here as is, with no corrections. Favre and Jake Vanlandingham (a Florida neuroscientist and Prevacus founder) suggested that Bryant be given shares in the company to encourage him to support the development of concussion medication. Vanlandingham, a man who suffered a severe brain injury in his youth, has been working since 2012 to find a solution for the concussion crisis. According to Vanlandingham, his primary goal is to save brain damage and prevent deaths. However, like any startup, he needs capital to achieve his vision. It was not uncommon for him to offer incentives to companies in return for the support of powerful figures. Vanlandingham sent Favre a text in late 2018 saying, “I suppose we verbally question the Governor about the rules to compensate him.” “Worst case scenario, I give you more stock than you can transfer as an individual to him. Let’s not get into trouble. Favre wrote later, “Group text governor and tell him that we want to give him more stock but don’t want anyone to get in trouble.” Favre and Favre had been talking like this for years and were constantly brainstorming possible partners. Mississippi Today reported that Bryant finally agreed to accept a package from the company by text two days after his departure. Bryant denied ever wanting to own stock in the company. However, text messages show that he continued to talk with Vanlandingham about a business deal until he was arrested. Favre sent Nancy New the contact information two days after their meeting and encouraged her to get in touch with him. Favre wrote, “Offer her anything you like.” Favre asked New after Vanlandingham’s first conversation. “Did Nancy and Nancy discuss shares of commission?” “Yes, we did. It was all she could think of, but she was gracious in saying that she loved the cause and how it could benefit kids. The scientist stated that she has four grandkids. “I knew she wouldn’t accept it if I mentioned it. Favre stated that he believed it was possible for her and John Davis to use federal grant money to pay Prevacus. According to documents attached to a filing by a state court, Vanlandingham sent New a text message shortly after they had met with New and Davis at Favre’s house to tell her that he wanted to give her 50,000 shares of his company. He thanked her for the gesture, and she said that she would have helped him no matter what. Vandlandingham relayed the exchange to Favre who replied, “Hell, we giving her something.” The scientist wrote, “I’ll slip that to her.” New paid Prevacus just a few weeks later, in January 2019. This was the date of her indictment. Vanlandingham provided Favre with an update on New’s ownership status two months later. “Nancy was approved now to receive 50k shares from Prevacus. The scientist wrote that I gave her the shares she wanted, which won’t cost her anything or require her to pay tax. Favre stated, “Now that’s amazing.” Prosecutors accuse New of embezzlement, for allegedly paying Prevacus and its affiliate PreSolMD $2.15million in welfare money in exchange for stock. This, along with several other charges, could land him hundreds of years in prison. Vanlandingham first connected with New by texting Favre to inquire if Favre knew John Davis (director of Mississippi Department of Human Services), the primary source of funding for the New nonprofit. “Yep. Favre wrote, “He is exactly like her.” Favre had been in constant communication with Davis. On Easter 2019, the welfare director emailed Davis to express his gratitude for his friendship. “John, thank you so much. I’m proud to call you my friend!” Favre replied, “Have a blessed and wonderful day.” Favre had been texting his partner the week Prevacus was due to receive funding from New. He said: “This all works out, we need to purchase her and John Davis surprise them with a vehicle. I thought maybe John Davis could we get him a Raptor.” At the same time, Favre was nervous about having to pay $1 million to the Southern Miss Athletic Foundation to build the new volleyball center Favre promoted. Favre text Davis: “Hey brother Deanna, still owes 1.1 million on Vball,” Favre said, referring to Deanna Favre. Nancy and Deanna Favre, please help me with this. They don’t require it at the moment.” He added that Nancy and jake had helped him with Prevacus and Jake. It was a pleasure to hear from your. Davis replied, “Let me see what I can do.” We are eager to see the VBall project succeed. Tomorrow, I will be in touch with you. “We appreciate you Brett and will always support you. The welfare director said that they did not view it as helping someone, but as helping a friend. As the auditor was about launch an investigation into Davis’ department, grant funding was in doubt. Favre texted his business partner, “I still owe $1.2 for the Vball Complex on campus and I’m not sure Nancy and John can continue covering me,” Favre said. The volleyball money didn’t arrive. Favre sent Vanlandingham a text in July that said, “Here’s my problem which isn’t your concern.” Nancy has been amazing to me. She paid 4.5million for a facility worth 7 million dollars. She assured me that everything would be taken care of up until the morning. She suddenly said, “I don’t think that I can do more.” So now, I am looking at big pay out.” New is a USM alumnus who sat on USM’s athletic foundation board. Davis graduated from the university as well. Bryant fired Davis in June after an MDHS employee reported to him a small case of fraud by the director. Freeze explained to Mississippi Today that Bryant’s new director Christopher Freeze convinced Favre to call a meeting for him and New to discuss funding. Bryant said that they had been discussing the volleyball centre. Freeze claimed that he said “No” and that the department had reinstituted a bidding procedure for TANF funds. This hadn’t happened since Bryant was elected to office. Vanlandingham found out that Davis had left MDHS. He asked Favre about the new director and Favre replied, “Nancy said that he wasn’t our kind.” Favre then joked that the governor might be their type. After the arrests, Vanlandingham text Favre to inform him that he believed the investor they were trying to secure was going to fail and that he was trying hard to raise funds to keep drug development on track. Favre replied that he couldn’t. Favre wrote, “I would but my eyes in vball debt,” six days after Davis and New were arrested by the auditor under Prevacus indictments. The Associated Press reported that Favre had said that he raised funds for the construction of the volleyball center. He told the AP that he wanted to do something for a school high school and Southern Miss. “…But for Southern Miss, it was hard because it is difficult to get people to give money for volleyball. We’ll open an $8 million facility, which will be as good in the country as any at Southern Mississippi.” He said that he is proud to have been able give so much money to help people through Favre4Hope. “Special Olympics,” Cystic Fibrosis and Make-A-Wish Foundation. “A large chunk of money to St. Jude, the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, and Ronald McDonald House. It would be shame if people don’t want to help. Favre stated that while we are not perfect, we try to give back. Vanlandingham suggested that USM finance Prevacus in 2017, months after New had sent $5 million to Southern Miss Athletic Foundation to fund the volleyball building. Favre was text messaged by Vanlandingham: “It would be great if you and him can get USM up to 3.5M. “If it passes the smell testing, I can get them the money up!” Favre replied. !” Favre responded. They re-examined the possibility of working with Southern Miss in late 2018. “I think between you, she and the governor we could get southern miss to cooperate with us on the prevacus project. Two days after meeting with Governor Favre in late 2018, Vanlandingham sent Favre a text message. Favre and Vanlandingham were both neuroscientists from Florida who spoke often over the years about how much they would make if they could get their concussion drug approved by FDA and human trials. Favre had previously promoted a new, expensive compounded pain relief cream. The FBI investigated and found a $515 million scheme to fraudulently insure health care. At least 20 people were convicted, Hattiesburg American reported. Officials didn’t accuse Favre in the scandal of any crime. Favre was a star quarterback at the time that Prevacus began engaging him. It was a hot topic in the NFL at that time and Favre was an obvious choice to sponsor Prevacus. Favre wrote Vanlandingham, “Call me crazy, but my goal is 20 million when it all’s over.” Favre also asked “And it doesn’t have to pass FDA approval to make money right?” Favre replied with grand promises of financial returns. However, the scientist tried to manage Favre’s expectations in dry banter. Vanlandingham wrote Favre in 2019 that “if phase 1 kills people, we are done.” He also said, “If it’s safe we go on and raise next money.” This supplement is to Part 1 of Mississippi Today’s “The Backchannel” series. It examines the former governor. Phil Bryant was responsible for the management of his welfare department which supported what officials call the biggest public embezzlement program in state history.