The state of Mississippi has filed a civil lawsuit against 38 people or companies, including Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Brett Favre. The goal is to get back $24 million of the $77 million in federal welfare money.
Per Fox News:
It has been months since the public has heard from Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Brett Favre regarding his alleged involvement in the Mississippi welfare fraud case that state auditors say funneled money to a new volleyball wellness center at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM).
Favre, who helped in raising money for the USM facility, has denied knowing that a $5 million grant for the volleyball facility came from a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare fund through the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC), a non-profit operated by Nancy New.
Favre received $1.1 million from a nonprofit called the Mississippi Community Education Center. According to the New York Post, the education center got money from the Department of Human Services for speaking engagements that Favre did not make. He repaid that money, but there is still $228 thousand in interest that is still owed.
Favre has been quiet about the situation, but he recently broke his silence as local and mainstream media picked this story up, and more people were made aware of the situation.
Favre told Fox News Digital:
“I have been unjustly smeared in the media. I have done nothing wrong, and it is past time to set the record straight. No one ever told me, and I did not know, that funds designated for welfare recipients were going to the University or me. I tried to help my alma mater USM, a public Mississippi state university, raise funds for a wellness center. My goal was and always will be to improve the athletic facilities at my university.
So Favre denies that he did anything wrong, but the state is saying he was in on the welfare fraud scandal. A court filing obtained by ESPN showed text exchanges between Favre and former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. The texts showed Favre being warned that improper use of the funds “could result in violation of Federal Law.” But according to the filing, Favre continued to push for the volleyball facility after the warning.
“State agencies provided the funds to Nancy New’s charity, the Mississippi Community Education Center, which then gave the funds to the University, all with the full knowledge and approval of other State agencies, including the State-wide Institute for Higher Learning, the Governor’s office and the Attorney General’s office. I was told that the legal work to ensure that these funds could be accepted by the university was done by State attorneys and State employees.”
Brett Favre told Fox News that he didn’t know the money he solicited to build a volleyball facility came from federal welfare funds, just a charity, and that the deal was vetted by lawyers. https://t.co/iUVq2uDwjo pic.twitter.com/tqdmuOguLv
— Anna Wolfe (@ayewolfe) October 11, 2022
The state auditor, Shad White, who uncovered the welfare fraud, said:
“The volleyball court needed to be used to benefit the needy in Hattiesburg, and fast forward to today, what we know now is that the volleyball court has not been used to benefit the needy. So, this is an unallowable use of TANF funds for a few different reasons. And for those reasons, it doesn’t matter that the attorney signed off on this. What matters is that it simply is not an allowable use of TANF funds, and it’s our job in the auditor’s office to point that out when we see it.”
There seem to be some unanswered questions at the moment, but Favre has finally spoken out about the incident, and it remains to be seen how the state of Mississippi will respond.