Before Brett Favre allegedly embezzled $5 million from Mississippi welfare funds to build a new volleyball facility at Southern Miss — his alma mater and where his daughter played the sport — his nonprofit for “Disadvantaged Kids” helped fund a new volleyball facility at its top-performing high school, The Daily Beast has learned.
His charity also paid more than $130,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Club between 2018 and 2020, records show, when he was working to build a volleyball facility there. -low, apparently with state welfare funds.
The 52-year-old retired quarterback is embroiled in his home state’s biggest public corruption scandal, a scandal where $77 million earmarked for Mississippi’s neediest residents allegedly instead went to projects for pets and personal expenses for friends and family of Department of Human Services (DHS) officials and purported nonprofit organizations receiving the funds. Beneficiaries of the program include Favre, three former professional wrestlers, and the home and ranch of a former college football star.
The ex-Green Bay Packer has not been charged with a crime. But he and several other parties are facing a civil lawsuit from DHS, which is trying to recover wasted millions that belonged to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
According to the complaint, Favre also persuaded the nonprofit Mississippi Community Education Center, a DHS subrecipient that received tens of millions of federal dollars, to invest $2.1 million in biotech company Prevacus. and an affiliated company, of which Favre was a major backer. This center also paid Favre $1.1 million for motivational speeches he never gave. (Favre reimbursed the costs to the state, although he still owed $228,000 in interest.)
Favre’s attorney, Bud Holmes, said the NFL legend was unaware he received funds from the federal welfare program. He recently said Initiated that his client “has been honorable from day one” and “has done so much charity work – and that’s all there was here”.
This latest scandal involving Favre, however, sparked a public backlash that led to Sirius XM suspending his show and ESPN Milwaukee halting his weekly radio appearances, the heat on Twitter, including from former teammates and his biographerand a Change.org petition from a “longtime Green Bay Packers fan” to kick him out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The brewing outrage may come as no surprise to some Hattiesburg residents who helped erect another Favre passion project: a $1.4 million volleyball facility for Oak High School. Groves in 2015.
In January of that year, the community newspaper The Lamar times reported that Brett and Deanna Favre advocated for the gym since their daughter Breleigh was an avid sophomore volleyball player there. “They contacted Mike Rozier, a local builder, and it all really grew from there,” the then-school district superintendent said, adding, “Currently there are nine teams using the OGHS gymnasium. There’s a great need for this installation.
A review of nonprofit tax records reveals that Favre’s foundation, Favre4Hope, sent $60,000 to the suburban Oak Grove booster club, which is among the highest-rated high schools in the state. The donation stood out among regular recipients in his group, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Special Olympics, the cancer charity, the Pink Ribbon Fund, and Hope Haven, which looks after abused and neglected children in Mississippi.
But nearly two years after the new Oak Grove Lady Warriors stadium was built, contractor Mike Rozier Construction has filed a lawsuit against the boosters, known as the Warrior Club, claiming the group still owes them $328,000. $. Although Favre was not listed as a defendant, he was named in a letter from the contractor’s attorney attached to the civil complaint.
The attorney addressed the letter requesting payment to the school district superintendent, the recall club president, Favre and his company Favre Enterprises. “Rozier has completed construction of the volleyball facility upon assurances from Oak Grove Warrior Booster Club and Mr. Favre that Rozier will be paid,” the November 2016 letter states.
“In addition to the Warrior Booster Club and Mr. Favre, the school district has benefited greatly from the volleyball facility,” the missive continues, adding, “Rozier has played in good faith throughout this project. He It’s time for the parties to whom this letter is addressed to pay Rozier or at least come up with a plan to do so.
In an affidavit filed in the case, company vice president Michael Rozier said, “The Warrior Club came forward and acted as the owner of the volleyball facility. The Warrior Club representatives were Brett and Deanna Favre.
Rozier says that in April 2015 he received an unsigned copy of a memorandum of understanding between the recall club and the construction company “which details the relationship of the parties as to the construction of the volleyball facility. -ball”, but that the company “rejected the terms and conditions of the proposed memorandum of understanding” and “refused to sign it”. The company “has never agreed to be bound by the terms and provisions of the memorandum of understanding,” he added.
A judge later ruled in favor of the booster club, after finding that no written or implied contract existed between it and the construction company.
Rozier Construction did not return messages seeking comment.
But a person with knowledge of the situation told the Daily Beast that the legal tussle in the small town reflected poorly on Favre. “It’s a snake,” said the person, who asked to remain anonymous. “It’s just another example of character.”
The source said Favre “wanted to build an indoor facility” and raised money for it and ordered his entities to donate money, including at least $50,000 from his foundation.
“Essentially, in the end, the contractor still owed fees,” the person added. “And Brett was friends with him, and Brett didn’t want to pay him, was trying to disown him.”
“It was a shitty, bad situation,” they fumed.
According to the source, Michael Rozier’s daughter also played volleyball in Oak Grove and that’s likely how his construction company got involved in the project.
At the time, the person said, Favre would star in commercials for Farm Bureau insurance and ask the company to send his payments to the facility’s booster club.
“It was something Brett 100% wanted,” said the source, who noted that Favre also briefly served as the Oak Grove High football team’s offensive coordinator. “But he has also done a lot for this community. He was loved there. He’s like some kind of god of person.
“But it’s like there were flaws in his armor when he did that, tried to stiffen the contractor and the boosters. I would say it probably left a bad taste.
Sean Little, vice president of the booster club, told The Daily Beast: “The official response from the Warrior Club is not a comment.” Asked about Rozier’s lawsuit, Little said, “It’s in our past and we have no comment.”
Mitch Brent, a former manager of the Warrior Club, said he was angry the media was attacking Favre. “If you’re interested in finding more dirt, then I’m not interested in talking to you,” he told a Daily Beast reporter. “You just said he donated $60,000 to the booster club, and frankly, that’s the tip of the iceberg of the good things he’s done. But he only gets publicity for the wrong things, and I don’t think that’s fair. When asked why Rozier sued the recall club for non-payment, Brent replied: “It was between him and Brett, I don’t know. not.”
In a 2020 interview with the AP, Favre mentioned that he raised money for the University of Southern Mississippi and Oak Grove High volleyball centers.
“We wanted to do something for a high school and (Southern Miss),” Favre said. “We built one at Oak Grove High School (in Hattiesburg, where Favre coached football). And for Southern Miss, it was tough – it’s tough to get people to donate for volleyball. But we’re going to open an $8 million facility that will be as good as any facility in the country down south in Mississippi.
Favre, who earned an estimated $140 million as a star NFL player over two decades, added he was proud of his charitable efforts through Favre4Hope.
“It would be a shame if people who can help don’t help,” Favre said. “We are by no means perfect, but we try to give back.”
Local non-profit press briefing mississippi today was the first to post text messages that pulled back the curtain on the welfare scandal and revealed that Favre and former Gov. Phil Bryant coordinated with Mississippi Community Education Center founder Nancy New to get funding for the volleyball stadium. “Nancy Santa came over today and dropped off some money,” Favre texted New in December 2017, “thank you thank God. We need to get the promo up for you soon. friendly [sic].”
In April, New and his son Zach pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the fraudulent scheme and agreed to testify against their co-defendants, mississippi today reported. And last week, John Davis, the former executive director of the Missouri Department of Human Services, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the state out of millions in federal funds.
Favre had previously expressed concern that the funding route would become public.
“If you were to pay me,” he texted New, “can the media find out where this is from and how much anyway?”
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