Brett Favre’s company ordered to repay $828K in misspent welfare cash

FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2018, file photo, former NFL quarterback Brett Favre speaks with...
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)(Rogelio V. Solis | AP)
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 5:06 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi state auditor Shad White’s office has served demands for more than $77 million of misspent Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) money, one of those demands going to Favre Enterprises, owned by Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.

“Two years ago my office audited DHS,” said White in a statement received by WLBT Tuesday. “After two years of work, we found tens of millions of dollars in misspending ... It’s time for the taxpayers to attempt to recover what we lost.”

The auditor’s office uncovered what it says was the largest public embezzlement scheme in state history.

The auditor’s office issued a demand to John Davis, former Department of Human Services executive director, for $96.313 million for his role authorizing over $77 million in illegal TANF spending. This includes interest.

Two nonprofits, the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC) and the Family Resource Center (FRC), also either misspent or improperly dispersed portions of that $77 million, according to the audit. As a result, the board and leadership of MCEC were served with a demand for $68.159 million.

Auditors issued additional demands to vendors who received part of the $77 million in welfare spending but did not completely fulfill the terms of their contracts.

On the list is Favre Enterprises, along with Brett Favre and Robert Culumber. They owe $828,000.

Favre did return $500,000 of the $1 million he was given in federal grant money in May 2020. Favre said he would return the rest of the money in installments.

Others served include Nancy and Zach New, the mother-son duo also accused of being involved in the embezzlement scheme. Nancy New has been demanded to pay $2,500, with Zach New ordered to pay $74,000.

According to White, the board members, nonprofit executives, and individuals who were served are liable jointly and severally for the demands. This means the individuals share responsibility for repaying portions of the total amount with John Davis.

If the demanded amounts are not repaid within 30 days, the attorney general’s office is responsible for enforcing the demands in court.

These demands are civil in nature, not criminal.

Below are the list of vendors vendors who received part of the $77 million but who have not completely fulfilled the terms of their contracts:

  • Austin Smith: $378,791
  • Former professional wrestler Brett Dibiase, son of wrestling legend Ted DiBiase Sr.: $225,950
  • Favre Enterprises, along with Brett Favre and Robert Culumber: $828,000
  • Heart of David Ministries, controlled by Ted Dibiase Sr.: $722,299
  • JTS Enterprises and Transformational Ventures, controlled by Brian Jeff Smith: $674,715
  • The Marcus Dupree Foundation, controlled by former NFL running back Marcus Dupree: $789,534
  • Nancy New: $2,589 (for payments received from FRC)
  • NCC Ventures, controlled by Nicholas Coughlin: $237,915
  • Ted Dibiase Jr.: $3.903 million
  • Warren Washington Issaquena Sharkey Community Action Agency, along with agency leaders Jan Vaughn, Jannis Williams, Janice Jelks, and Delinda Robinson: $75,261
  • Zach New: $74,118 (for payments received from FRC)

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