Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant allegedly ordered payments totaling $1.1 million in welfare money to former NFL star Brett Favre, according to a civil court case document.
Defendant Nancy New, 69, and her son Zachary New, 39 – who used to run a nonprofit group and an education company in the state – pleaded guilty in April to welfare misspending and agreed to testify against others in what the state auditor has called Mississippi’s largest public corruption case in the past two decades. It involves more than $77 million in misspent welfare funds.
Nancy New accused Bryant in the documents of ordering her to make the payments.
Bryant denies the civil case allegation that is part of a lawsuit brought against New’s former company, Mississippi Community Education Center Inc., by the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
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FILE – Gov. Phil Bryant speaks about his legacy following a life of public service in his office at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., on Jan. 8, 2020.
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
“These allegations made against Gov. Bryant are false,” a statement from the former governor said. “Every claim against these individuals was discovered and prosecuted as a result of an investigation Gov. Bryant requested of the state auditor.”
Bryant does not face criminal charges.
FILE – Nancy New, who with her son, Zachary, ran a private education company in Mississippi, pleads guilty to state charges of misusing public money that was intended to help some of the poorest people in the nation, at Hinds County Circuit Court, Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Jackson, Miss. New said in a court document she directed $1.1 million in welfare money to former NFL star Brett Favre at the direction of former Gov. Phil Bryant. Bryant has denied the accusation.
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
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Shirley Hampton, of the Jamboree Child Development Center, told WAPT-TV that some misused funds were supposed to go to her daycare center, which she struggled to keep open.
“We’ve always said it’s trickling up higher than… Nancy New, but it’s trickling up a lot higher than that,” Hampton told the station.
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Former NFL player Brett Favre speaks onstage during day 3 of SiriusXM at Super Bowl LIV on January 31, 2020 in Miami, Florida.
(Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
New said Favre was paid for speaking and promotional events and “business partner development.”
New’s attorneys say she was acting at the direction of state officials in the awarding of various contracts and allocation of funds.
“Governor Phil Bryant directed defendant to provide funds to Brett Favre, and defendant caused (Mississippi Community Education Center) to contract with Favre Enterprises, Inc., in the amount of $1,100,000 in consideration for Favre speaking at events, keynote speaking, radio and promotional events, and business partner development. Favre performed services pursuant to this agreement,” court documents said, according to WAPT.
Favre does not face criminal charges and repaid the money after being ordered to by state Auditor Shad White. He said he did not know the money came from welfare funds.
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He also denied an accusation by White that he did not show up for speaking events and noted he has a Wisconsin-based charity where he lives that raises millions of dollars for struggling families.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.