The Mississippi Office of the State Auditor sent a demand to former NFL quarterback Brett Favre seeking repayment of $828,000 for welfare money that was illegally received and spent.
Lee O. Sanderlin of the Clarion Ledger reported Tuesday that Favre, who received $1.1 million in funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through the Mississippi Community Education Center, repaid $500,000 but state auditor Shad White seeks the remaining amount plus interest.
"Two years ago my office audited [the Department of Human Services]," White said. "After two years of work, we found tens of millions of dollars in misspending. Those findings have now been confirmed, this month, by an independent forensic audit commissioned by DHS."
Mississippi had previously requested that Favre return the money while the DHS audit was ongoing, but it wasn't legally mandated at the time.
"He's under no obligation to do so, other than him giving his word," Logan Reeves, a spokesperson for White, told Leah Willingham of the Associated Press in May.
The demand issued by the state auditor Tuesday is a civil action that can now be taken to a judge to force repayment if it's not made voluntarily within 30 days, per Sanderlin.
In May 2020, Favre posted a statement on Facebook (via Emily Wagster Pettus of the AP) saying he was offered the money for making appearances and didn't know where the funds came from when he received payment:
"My agent is often approached by different products or brands for me to appear in one way or another. This request was no different, and I did numerous ads for Family First. I have never received moneys for obligations I didn't meet. To reiterate Auditors White's statement, I was unaware that the money being dispensed was paid for out of funds not intended for that purpose, and because of that I am refunding the full amount back to the state of Mississippi.
"I have spent my entire career helping children through Favre 4 Hope donating nearly $10 million to underserved and underprivileged children in Mississippi and Wisconsin. It has brought a ton of joy to my life, and I would certainly never do anything to take away from the children I have fought to help! I love Mississippi and I would never knowingly do anything to take away from those that need it most."
Favre spent 20 years in the NFL as a member of the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets.
Favre retired after the 2011 season and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of its 2016 class.