Brett Favre, More Sued by Mississippi Department of Human Services Over Welfare Money

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 10, 2022

FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2018, file photo, former NFL quarterback Brett Favre speaks with reporters in Jackson, Miss., about his support for Willowood Developmental Center, a facility that provides training and assistance for special needs students. Favre has yet to pay back $600,000 in welfare money he received from the state of Mississippi for multiple speaking events he never showed up to, according to a spokesperson for Mississippi Office of the State Auditor Logan Reeves, Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File

The Mississippi Department of Human Services has sued former NFL quarterback Brett Favre, former professional wrestler "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase Sr. and his two sons (Ted Jr. and Brett), and more people and businesses, saying that they "squandered" over $20 million from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families anti-poverty program, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN).

Per the AP's Emily Wagster Pettus last October (h/t Fox 11 News), state auditor Shad White said that Favre received $1.1 million for multiple speeches for which he did not show up.

Anna Wolfe of Mississippi Today reported in May 2021 that the Mississippi Community Education Center paid Favre to make, among other things, three speeches promoting Families First for Mississippi, a federally funded anti-poverty initiative.

White said in May 2020 that Favre had paid $500,000 of the original $1.1 million. On Oct. 12, 2021, White said that Favre owed the remaining $600,000 plus an extra $228,000 in interest.

Favre paid the $600,000 by the end of October, but the interest remains unpaid. White said that Favre missed a November 2021 deadline to pay the remaining $228,000. He then tweeted that the manner would be forwarded to the attorney general's office.

Shad White @shadwhite

A little over 30 days ago, my office issued demands on several individuals ordering them to repay misspent welfare money. As I said at the time, if any of those individuals failed to repay the money, the demands will be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office. <a href="https://t.co/aUCY1FyyJI">https://t.co/aUCY1FyyJI</a>

Favre is not facing any criminal charges, per Pettus, and he has denied claims of owing money:

Brett Favre @BrettFavre

As I have said before, I would never accept money for no-show appearances, as the state of Mississippi auditor, <a href="https://twitter.com/shadwhite?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ShadWhite</a>, claims.

Brett Favre @BrettFavre

Of course the money was returned because I would never knowingly take funds meant to help our neighbors in need, but for Shad White to continue to push out this lie that the money was for no-show events is something I cannot stay silent about.

Brett Favre @BrettFavre

Prioritizing sensational headlines over seeking truth is doing a disservice to the people of our great state who deserve answers and a resolution.

In addition, per the AP, prosecutors claim that welfare money was spent on drug rehabilitation in Malibu, California, for Brett DiBiase, who wrestled for Florida Championship Wrestling and made appearances on WWE television.

A lawsuit also claims that Heart of David Ministries Inc., which is run by former WWE legend DiBiase Sr., received $1.7 million in welfare grant money in 2017 and 2018.

There's more to the lawsuit as well, per the AP, with accusations of welfare grant money investments into a company attempting to develop a concussion drug:

"The lawsuit filed Monday said Favre at one time was the largest individual outside investor and stockholder of Prevacus, a Florida-based company that was trying to develop a concussion drug. The suit said that in December 2018, Favre urged Prevacus CEO Jake VanLandingham to ask Nancy New to use welfare grant money to invest in the company.
"The suit also said Favre hosted a Prevacus stock sales presentation at his home in January 2019, attended by VanLandingham, Davis, Nancy New, Zach New and Ted DiBiase Jr., and that an agreement was reached to spend 'substantial' welfare grant money in Prevacus and later in its corporate affiliate PreSolMD Inc."

Favre, 52, was born and raised in Mississippi and currently lives there. He played in the NFL from 1991 to 2010 and won the NFL MVP award three times.