Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Brett Favre, who has espoused conservative points of view in the past, fired back at the legacy media earlier this week in an attempt to “set the record straight.”
Favre has been accused of taking part in a welfare fraud scheme in Mississippi that involved funds being funneled to a new volleyball wellness center at the University of Southern Mississippi, but in a podcast on Monday, the legendary QB said he had no part in it.
Fox News reported:
The state of Mississippi is currently suing 38 people or companies in an attempt to claw back $24 million of the $77 million in federal welfare money, according to a report by Mississippi Today.
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.
According to documents obtained by Fox News, the $5 million was procured by MCEC via a Block Grant from the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) in October 2017.
“I have been unjustly smeared in the media,” Favre said in a statement provided exclusively to Fox News. “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,” he added.
“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,” the Super Bowl-winning former Green Bay Packer QB continued.
“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,” he said.
State auditor Shad White, the auditor who first discovered the misspending and fraud, told Fox News that the grant was approved by an attorney for the AG’s office, but that the “analysis was incorrect” for a couple of reasons.
“The volleyball court needed to be used to benefit the needy in Hattiesburg,” White said. “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.”
TANF funds are also not allowed for “brick and mortar” construction project, Fox News added.
However, White admits that there is no evidence Favre did anything wrong or knew that of wrongdoing regarding the funds.
“Based on the documents that have come out publicly, mainly through filings in the civil case, we can see text messages that show that Mr. Favre knew that the money that was being paid out was coming from John Davis, who is the head of the Mississippi Department of Human Services and also coming from the non-profit that was receiving money from DHS,” White told Fox News Digital. “So, he knows that it’s government money basically, and he knows that the money is coming from the Department of Human Services.
“Now, whether or not Mr. Favre knew that this money was specifically coming from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, there are no documents out in the public right now that suggest that,” White continued. “There are no documents that suggest that he knew the precise laws and regulations around TANF funds. But he did know it was government money, and he did know that it was coming from this agency. And of course, that agency is the agency that is responsible for handling programs that are geared toward helping the poor.”
Fox News said the crux of Favre’s involvement is a $1.1 million stipend he received for fundraising, which he then reportedly gave to the university in order to assist in building the volleyball center. He has since paid back those funds but not the interest that accrued.
“The second piece of information in the audit that came out related to Mr. Favre was that he had been paid $1.1 million,” White told Fox News. “So, when we asked questions about ‘why did he get paid $1.1 million of welfare money?’ the non-profit gave us a contract – what they called a contract – that said Mr. Favre was supposed to give a keynote address and some speeches and cut a radio ad and do several other things.
“Upon further investigation, we realized that he had not given any of those speeches, that there was no justifiable reason for him to be paid that $1.1 million under TANF regs (regulations) and the law,” he added.
Favre’s attorney, Eric Herschmann told the outlet that Favre was never asked to appear for speaking events. He also said that he cut commercials for the radio and never “no showed” a speaking event. He noted further that “Brett got paid for doing every radio spot that was requested. He never got paid for a ‘no show’ appearance. Anyone who has claimed otherwise, does not know the true facts.”