Welfare funds used to build USM facility

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A nonprofit is in the spotlight today for reportedly using federal welfare dollars to build a state-of-the-art volleyball facility on USM’s campus in Hattiesburg.

According to ‘Mississippi Today,’ the Mississippi Community Education Center paid $5 million in cash to the university’s athletic foundation. The center receives most of its budget from taxpayer dollars intended to help people out of poverty.

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Instead, the funding was used to construct the USM Wellness Center through an upfront five-year sublease agreement. The university did modify its plans to include an office space for the organization.

The nonprofit owner, Nancy New, sat on the athletic foundation’s board. The nonprofit recently closed its doors amid investigations into one of the largest embezzlement schemes in state history.

A university spokesperson said in addition to the $5 million from the nonprofit, individuals contributed to the construction also.