Brett Favre breaks silence on Mississippi welfare scandal

Brett Favre has denied any wrongdoing in the Mississippi welfare scandal, speaking out on the controversy for the first time in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying, “I did nothing wrong and it’s more than time to set the record straight.” He added that he had “been unfairly defamed in the media”.

Favre was embroiled in Mississippi’s biggest public corruption case, in which tens of millions of dollars intended for families in need were misspent. He faces no criminal charges, but his alleged involvement helped bring the case to wider national attention and cost him endorsement deals.

Favre received $1.1 million intended for social recipients in exchange for speeches and appearances that the auditor says he never made. And text messages included in court records last month showed Favre was heavily involved in the discussions this resulted in $5 million in welfare for the construction of a volleyball facility at his alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi, where his daughter played volleyball. Favre then repaid the $1.1 million, but $228,000 interest remains in dispute.

Brett Favre is the face of a scandal, but Mississippi’s problems go deeper

Money for appearances and volleyball was funneled through a nonprofit called Mississippi Community Education Center run by Nancy New and her son, Zach, who pleaded guilty and are cooperating with investigators. . John Davis, the former head of the state Department of Human Services, pleaded guilty Sept. 22 to federal counts of conspiracy and theft and state counts of conspiracy and fraud against the government and has agreed to testify against others.

“No one ever told me, and I didn’t know it, that welfare funds were going to the University or to me. I tried to help my alma mater USM, a public university in Mississippi State, raise money for a wellness center,” Favre’s declaration, given to Fox News Digital, said. “My goal was and always will be to improve the sports facilities at my university.

“State agencies provided the funds to Nancy New’s charity, the Mississippi Community Education Center, which then disbursed the funds to the university, all with the full knowledge and approval of other agencies. of state, including the state institute of higher learning, the governor’s office, and the attorney general’s office.I was told that legal work to ensure that these funds could be accepted by the university was done by state prosecutors and employees.

State Auditor Shad White’s office uncovered the wasteful spending and fraud and told Fox News Digital that a grant approved by a court office attorney used incorrect analysis.

“The volleyball court was to be used for the benefit of the needy in Hattiesburg,” White said. “And fast forward to today, what we know now is that the volleyball court was not used for the benefit of the needy. So this is an unauthorized use of TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] funds for different reasons. And for those reasons, it doesn’t matter that the lawyer signed this. What matters is that this is simply not an authorized use of TANF funds, and it is our job in the auditor’s office to report it when we see it.

TANF funds should not be used for “bricks and mortar” projects and White told Fox there was no evidence Favre knew the money was from TANF. However, White said Favre knew the money came from programs “aimed at helping the poor”.

“Based on the documents made public, primarily through filings in the civil case, we can see text messages that show Mr. Favre knew the money that was being paid came from John Davis, who is the chief from the Mississippi Department of Social Services and also from the nonprofit that was receiving money from DHS,” White told Fox News Digital. “So he knows it’s basically government money, and he knows the money is coming from the Department of Social Services.”

According to the US Census, one in five people in Mississippi live in poverty – the worst rate in the nation – 28% of whom are children. Federal money is given to states to distribute to families through TANF.

In May 2020, favre tweeted that he had “never received money for obligations which I had not fulfilled” and “did not know that the money distributed had been paid with funds not intended for that purpose”. But documents filed in court last month suggested he had at least some knowledge of where the money came from. Filings also suggest he continually pressed state officials for money to pay for the volleyball facility. “We obviously need your help and time is working against us,” Favre emailed Gov. Phil Bryant (R) Sept. 4, 2019. “And we think your name is the perfect fit for this facility and we’re not taking no for an answer!

“We will get there,” replied the governor at the time. “It was a great meeting. But we have to obey the law. I am [too] old for federal prison.

Favre previously told Mississippi Today that he did not discuss the volleyball facility plan with Bryant.

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