Subpoena targets ex- Gov Phil Bryant’s communication with

  • Brett Favre showed strong support for Southern Miss athletics project
  • IHL approved USM ‘Wellness Center’
  • Brett Favre worked with welfare officials to invest in concussion cream complany
  • Then-Gov. Phil Bryant denies knowing Prevacus received public funds

Attorneys are wrangling Mississippi’s former governor into the welfare department’s massive civil lawsuit, which one attorney called a “no-holds-barred death match.”

The attorney for the state agency is subpoenaing the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation for any of its communication with former Gov. Phil Bryant and his wife Deborah Bryant.

The Mississippi Department of Human Services filed a civil lawsuit in May accusing dozens of people — including retired NFL quarterback and famed USM alumnus Brett Favre — of misspending or wrongly receiving welfare funds.

But the complaint did not name the athletic foundation, even though it received $5 million in welfare funds to build a new volleyball stadium at USM — one of the more egregious revelations in a sprawling $77 million welfare scandal that broke in 2020. The complaint doesn’t mention the volleyball building at all.

Nancy News (left) and Zachary New

A subpoena filed Monday may signal the state’s intent to add the USM scheme to the civil complaint and explore whether the Bryants are culpable. The subpoena also asks for any communication between USM athletic foundation board members or employees and Favre, nonprofit founder Nancy New, her sons Zach New and Jess New, former welfare department director John Davis and retired wrestler Ted “Teddy” DiBiase Jr.