Officials say former NFL quarterback Brett Favre has yet to pay back $ 600,000 for several speaking events he received from Mississippi State.
Jackson, Miss. – Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre has yet to pay $ 600,000 for several speaking events he received from Mississippi State that he never showed.
He promised to pay the state a year earlier, after an audit released in May 2020 revealed that Favre’s company, Favre Enterprises, had been paid $ 1.1 million. The amount was part of a $ 94 million in welfare expenses that were “questioned” by auditors who said they either saw a clear lapse or did not verify whether the money was spent legitimately.
Mississippi is one of the poorest states in America. The $ 94 million in federal funds asked in last year’s audit was set aside for temporary assistance for needy families, also known as TANFs.
The Mississippi Community Education Center had a contract with Mississippi’s Department of Human Services to spend money through TANF. The report stated that the auditors found payment for sports activities and other events in which there was no clear connection to help the needy.
Favre made an initial payment of $ 500,000 to the state a few days after the report was released. But a spokesman for the Mississippi Office of State Auditor Logan Reeves said Tuesday that Reeves’ office has not heard from the Hall-of-Famer.
Reeves told The Associated Press, “After the initial media dustup, he placed a check for $ 500 grand and made a voluntary commitment over the rest of the months.” “And then, it didn’t happen.”
Favre’s agent did not return a request from the Associated Press for comment on Tuesday.
The audit claimed that Favre Enterprises was paid $ 500,000 in December 2017 and $ 600,000 in June 2018, and was believed to have lectured for at least three shows. The auditor’s report stated that “upon a cursory review of those dates, the auditors were able to determine that the contracted person was not speaking nor was he present for those events.”
Favre has not been charged with a crime.
In separate instances, six people, including former head of the state’s welfare agency, top official of the Mississippi Community Education Center, and ex-wrestler Brett DiBiase, were charged in state court and await trial after the audit.
State auditor Shad White said last year there was no indication that Favre knew the money he was getting was meant to help needy residents of the state.
He praised Favre’s announcement in May 2020 that he would repay the money, calling it a “goodwill effort” to correct the situation and a time that harmed Mississippi families.
Reeves said on Tuesday that no formal agreement had been reached between Favre and the state, nor was he obliged by the state or federal government to do so.
“He is not obliged to do this except to give his word,” said Reeves.
Reeves said the matter is now in the hands of the federal office of Inspector General, which will make a final determination of whether the funds were nag and whether they need to be paid back.
When federal officials made this decision, they could choose not to take any action, or to ask Favre and others to return the money, the Revs said. The state of Mississippi may be asked to repay money from its general fund, or the Feds may choose to withdraw a percentage of Mississippi’s federal funding until the money is returned.
The development associated with Favre Enterprises was first reported by Mississippi Today, a nonprofit news organization closely following the state welfare scandal and consequences.
Apart from Favre, none of the other individuals mentioned in the audit has returned any welfare money to the state or offered to do so, Reeves said.
Willingham is a Corps member for the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that puts journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercover issues.