According to documents obtained by ESPN, two companies backed by Brett Favre are being sued by the state of Mississippi for allegedly taking millions of dollars in welfare funds meant to go to families in need.
Prevacus and PresolMD, both founded by Jake VanLandingham, tried to develop a nasal spray and cream that prevents and lessens the effects of concussions. They were accused of taking more than $2.1 million from Mississippi welfare funds. Favre is the biggest outside investor in Prevacus, according to the lawsuit, and he claims to have invested $1 million in the companies.
“I had no idea it was welfare, and I’ve always been an honest research person,” VanLandingham said in an interview with ESPN.
In addition to allegedly accepting money for welfare programs, Prevacus and PresolMD have been accused of exaggerating their ties to the NFL and the effectiveness of their products.
In marketing materials from Prevacus and PresolMD, they claimed to have “provided product samples and maintained relationships with six active NFL teams.” VanLandingham claimed that Favre had established links with several team doctors and coaches, but he could not recall which teams contacted specifically. He also didn’t know if any samples had been used by NFL players.
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The state lawsuit alleges that some of the money Prevacus and PresolMD received from Mississippi went through the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC), which was headed by Nancy New. In April, New pleaded guilty to bribery of a public official, fraud against the government, wire fraud and racketeering.
The lawsuit claims a “sham” deal was created to benefit defendants like New, VanLandingham and Favre.
The Hall of Fame quarterback has come under fire for his alleged involvement in other areas of the Mississippi welfare scandal. Favreto build a new volleyball facility at his alma mater Southern Miss. Text messages from August 3, 2017 claim that Favre asked New about the confidentiality of payments made to him.
“If you were to pay me, would the media know where it came from and how much? he wrote in the text conversation, as seen in the photos.
In a statement to Fox News, Favre maintained that he was unaware the money was going to a welfare program.
“Nobody ever told me, and I didn’t know it, that funds for welfare recipients were going to the University or to me,” Favre said. “I tried to help my alma mater USM, a public university in the state of Mississippi, to raise funds for a wellness center. My goal was and always will be to improve the athletic facilities at my university .”