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Mississippi auditor says Brett Favre still owes nearly $1 million he received for speeches he did not give

A Mississippi auditor says Brett Favre still has yet to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds that were supposed to go to needy families. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Mississippi state auditor announced Tuesday that Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre still has yet to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars he received from a fund intended to help needy Mississippi residents for speeches he did not give.

The auditor, Shad White, said in the statement that his office previously had determined that John Davis, the former executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, authorized payments of more than $77 million in federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families funds to two nonprofits that either misspent or improperly disbursed portions of that money. An independent accounting firm in Maryland then completed a second audit to determine who received the money from the nonprofits. In a report, the second audit uncovered nearly $41 million in “questioned costs” for items such as travel and programs to support college athletes.

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The first state audit revealed in May 2020 that Favre had received $1.1 million for speaking engagements for which he did not appear. White said then that Favre had repaid $500,000 of that money to the state, with the remainder to come “in installments over the next few months.”

But in the statement Tuesday, White demanded that Favre and an employee of his business, Favre Enterprises, repay the $600,000 still owed on the balance plus $228,000 in interest.

Favre does not face criminal charges, but White said in Tuesday’s statement that Favre and others who received the misspent funds will face civil charges if they do not repay the money in 30 days.

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Last year, the former NFL quarterback denied that he had “received monies for obligations I didn’t meet” and said “I love Mississippi and I would never knowingly do anything to take away from those that need it most.” However, the initial audit found that Favre was paid $500,000 in December 2017 and $600,000 in June 2018 for three speeches from the Mississippi Community Education Center, one of the nonprofits under investigation.

“[Upon] a cursory review of those dates, auditors were able to determine that the individual contracted did not speak nor was he present for those events,” the audit states, adding that the amount paid to Favre was “unreasonable.”

Davis, other state employees and officials with the nonprofits have been indicted on state and federal charges over the scheme, which has been described as the largest case of embezzlement in Mississippi history.

Former professional wrestler Ted DiBiase and his sons also were included on the list of people whom White says owe money. The Ted DiBiase-owned Heart of David Ministries owes $722,299, while Ted DiBiase Jr. owes $3.903 million. Brett DiBiase — who was paid for teaching classes about drug abuse that the audit found were never held — owes $225,950. Last year, Brett DiBiase pleaded guilty to a lesser state charge of making a false statement in exchange for testimony against his alleged co-conspirators.

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