Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre is in hot water over his connection to the Mississippi welfare scandal involving the embezzlement of an estimated $77 million. Favre – who has not been criminally charged – denied knowing that money he received for different projects was welfare money, but court documents and text messages shed new light on the situation.
The scandal is Mississippi’s biggest public corruption case. This is money from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, a federal program that provides grants to states and territories to help families in need. According to the benefits.gov website, “State-administered programs may include child care assistance, employment preparation, and employment assistance.”
On Sept. 22, former Mississippi Department of Human Services Executive Director John Davis pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of theft relating to programs receiving federal funds. The Justice Department said Davis was working with four unnamed co-conspirators. Davis will be sentenced on February 2, 2023.
“MDHS provided federal funds to two nonprofits and then ordered the two nonprofits to fraudulently award contracts to various entities and individuals for social services that were never provided,” reads -on in the release.
The two nonprofits were the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC) and the Family Resource Center (FRC), as noted in an October 2021 press release from State Auditor Shad White’s office. The two organizations have ran a statewide program called Families First for Mississippi. .
In the summer of 2021, Favre began asking then-Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant to fund a new volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi — his alma affair and the same school in which his daughter played volleyball.
Text messages from August 3, 2017, show Favre asking MCEC founder Nancy New for confidentiality regarding payments made to her.
“If you were to pay me, would the media know where it came from and how much? ” He asked.
She reassured him that the information would not be made public. The next day, she told him that Bryant was okay with their plan. New and his son, Zach, pleaded guilty to 13 scandal-related charges in early 2022.
According to an audit,for appearances and speeches at several events he did not attend. Favre said he filmed commercials for the non-profit organization and that’s why he received the money. The listener later revealed that Favre’s contract stipulated that he was to give speeches and a radio commercial.
Favre returned the initial payments, but still owes $228,000 in interest.
“Of course the money was returned because I would never knowingly take funds meant to help our neighbors in need, but for Shad White to keep pushing this lie that the money was for events of non- presentation is something I can’t stay silent about,” he tweeted on October 29, 2021.
which led to the referral of the case to the state attorney general’s office.
The $5 million volleyball stadium wasn’t the only project Favre was interested in. In July 2019, Favre also appeared to want money for a new football facility at Southern Miss to help recruit quarterback Shedeur Sanders, the son of Deion Sanders, by enticing him with an inside. soccer facility.
“As I suspected, Deion’s son asked where the indoor facility was and I said [we] I don’t have any but [we] hope to break new ground in less than 2 years,” Favre sent to Bryant, per ESPN. “Now this won’t happen without your help/commitment!!! I know we have the Vball to finish first and I’m asking a lot with this and I 100% believe that if you can do this Nancy will reach and help a lot and in the recruitment war [a new indoor practice facility] will give USM[‘s football program] instant credibility and [USM football will] become relevant again.”
ESPN reported that Billy Quin, an attorney representing Bryant, said a court filing shows Favre “continued to lobby for state funds, first from DHS and then as part of a statutory appropriation”.
On July 28, 2019, Bryant texted Favre stating that the use of the funds is “tightly monitored” and that “any improper use could result in a violation of federal law. Auditors are currently reviewing the use of these funds.” .
Just over a month later, on September 4, 2019, text messages show Favre putting more pressure on Bryant.
“We don’t take No for an answer! You are a former Miss South, and people need to know that you are a University supporter as well,” Favre wrote.
“We’re going to make it. It was a great meeting. But we have to obey the law. I’m too old for federal prison.” Bryant responded, adding an emoji wearing sunglasses.
In April 2022, Mississippi Today reported that Brett Favre told Bryant about Prevacus, a pharmaceutical company in which Favre was a lead investor. According to the report, the company received $2.15 million from the program. Some of the text messages obtained by Mississippi Today showed Prevacus founders Jake Vanlandingham and Favre offered Bryant stock in the company. White ended up naming Bryant as the whistleblower who led to the high-profile arrests in the welfare scandal.
in May 2022 against Favre, three former professional wrestlers, and several other individuals and businesses in an effort to recoup millions of dollars in welfare. According to the lawsuit, Ted DiBiase Sr. — a former wrestler known as “The Million Dollar Man” — ran Heart of David Ministries Inc. and received $1.7 million in social grants in 2017 and 2018 for the mentoring, marketing and other services. . One of his sons, Brett DiBiase, pleaded guilty to his role in the scandal in December 2020.
Recently, two of Favre’s weekly shows on ESPN Milwaukee and SiriusXM were suspended due to his involvement with the program, which dates back to 2017.