Mississippi threatens to sue Brett Favre with over $ 828,000
Mississippi, the state that reveres Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre as a local hero, threatened to sue him this week if he fails to repay the $ 828,000 he owes within 30 days, according to the state auditor.
Mr. Favre was among more than 10 people sent letters from state auditor Shad White demanding repayment of tens of millions of dollars in connection with an extensive fraud scheme of missed welfare benefits.
In May 2020, a damning audit found that the state of Mississippi had approved millions of dollars in poverty alleviation funds that did little or nothing to the poor, and two nonprofit groups used the money to lobbyists and soccer instead, used tickets, religious concerts, and fitness programs for state legislators.
The program resulted in criminal charges against six people, including the former executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, who was accused of conspiring with the administrators of the nonprofit Mississippi Community Education Center and the centre’s accountant to defraud taxpayers and create fake invoices. Mr Favre was not charged.
Former executive director, John Davis, has to pay $ 96.3 million – including interest – for his role in approving more than $ 77 million in illegal social spending, White said.
Mr. White said Mr. Favre, 52, received $ 1.1 million from the Mississippi Community Education Center in speaking fees for performances he never made. The payments he received in December 2017 and June 2018 were made in government social grants, White said.
Little did Mr. Favre know the money was going to benefit families in need, said Mr. White. Mr. Favre made a payment of $ 500,000 to Mr. White’s office in May 2020 and agreed to pay the remaining $ 600,000 over the next few months, the auditor said.
But Mr. Favre never paid the balance, said Mr. White. In a letter Tuesday, the auditor requested that Mr. Favre pay the balance of $ 600,000 plus an additional $ 228,000 in interest within 30 days, or, as he said, file a lawsuit.
“It is time for taxpayers to try to get back what we lost,” White said in a statement.
The letter was addressed to Mr. Favre and to Favre Enterprises and Robert L. Culumber, a business partner. A representative for Mr Favre did not immediately respond to news Wednesday, including Mr Culumber.
Mr. Favre, who grew up in Mississippi and played soccer at the University of Southern Mississippi, spent 20 seasons in the National Football League, most of them with the Green Bay Packers, with whom he won Super Bowl XXXI in 1997.
In a series of tweets last year, Mr Favre wrote that he had appeared in advertisements for a Mississippi resource center that was receiving welfare. He also said that he never received any money for commitments that he failed to meet.
“To reiterate Auditors White’s statement, I was unaware that the money distributed was being paid for out of funds not intended for that purpose, and for this reason I am refunding the full amount back to Mississippi,” Mr Favre wrote in the May 2020.
Mr Favre wrote that through his charity, Favre 4 Hope, he donated nearly $ 10 million to help disadvantaged and underserved children in Mississippi and Wisconsin.
“I would certainly never do anything to take anything away from the children I fought for!” He wrote. “I love Mississippi and I would never knowingly do anything to take away from those who need it most.”
The Mississippi Community Education Center hired Favre Enterprises to perform at events, record promotions, and provide autographs for marketing materials from July 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018, according to a state exam.
In the documents handed over to the state officials, the contract price was not mentioned, the audit said.
The center provided a list of dates and events and said Favre Enterprises had met the terms of the contract. However, state officials said auditors found that Mr Favre did not speak or attend these events.
He’s not the only celebrity Mr. White said could be sued if they fail to repay funds related to the fraud plan within 30 days.
Heart of David Ministry, a Christian ministry controlled by former WWE wrestler Ted DiBiase Sr., known as the Million Dollar Man, has to repay $ 722,299, Mr. White said. The Ministry and Mr. DiBiase did not immediately respond to messages.
One of Mr. DiBiase’s sons, Ted DiBiase Jr., who is also a retired professional wrestler, is due to repay $ 3.9 million, Mr. White said. Another son, Brett DiBiase, who is also a retired professional wrestler and was charged with the fraud scheme last year, has to pay $ 225,950, Mr. White said.
State auditors said Brett DiBiase was paid social funds to teach drug use courses. He never taught these courses, however, as he was being treated for an opioid addiction at the Rise rehab center in Malibu, California, auditors said.
According to The Clarion-Ledger, Brett DiBiase pleaded guilty last year to making fraudulent statements intended to defraud the government.