Brett Favre stated he has completed not anything unsuitable and has been “smeared” in the media in reaction to his involvement in a sprawling welfare investigation in Mississippi, in step with a commentary given to Fox News Digital.
“I have been unjustly smeared in the media,” Favre stated in the commentary, which Fox News Digital revealed Tuesday. “I have done nothing wrong, and it is past time to set the record straight.
“No one ever informed me, and I didn’t know, that finances designated for welfare recipients have been going to the University or me. I attempted to lend a hand my alma mater USM [University of Southern Mississippi], a public Mississippi state college, lift finances for a wellness middle. My function was once and at all times shall be to support the athletic amenities at my college.”
According to a Mississippi state audit, $77 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds were diverted from the poorest people in America’s poorest state toward rich and powerful Mississippians. Six people have been arrested in the case, five of whom have pleaded guilty to state charges. Favre has not been criminally charged but is a defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by the state.
His alma mater, Southern Miss, received $5 million in TANF money, transferred from the Department of Human Services to a nonprofit and, eventually, to USM’s Athletic Foundation, the audit said. A volleyball facility, Wellness Center, was later built on campus. Text messages show Favre pushed for funding for a volleyball facility when his daughter was on the team.
“State companies supplied the finances to Nancy New’s charity, the Mississippi Community Education Center, which then gave the finances to the University, all with the overall wisdom and approval of different State companies,” Favre’s statement continued, “together with the State-wide Institute for Higher Learning, the Governor’s administrative center and the Attorney General’s administrative center.”
“I used to be informed that the felony paintings to be sure that those finances might be approved via the college was once completed via State legal professionals and State staff.”
Mississippi auditor Shad White, who has investigated the case, disagreed with Favre’s recounting of events.
“Obviously, Mr. Favre knew that he was once being paid in executive finances, according to the texts,” White told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “He knew that the ones finances have been coming from the Department of Human Services. He’s clearly said that he had to pay off the ones finances, too.”
According to the state audit and a civil lawsuit, Favre also was paid $1.1 million from TANF funds for speeches White said Favre never made. He eventually paid back the money, but the state is suing him for $228,000 in interest.
Favre’s attorney, Eric Herschmann, told Fox that Favre “by no means were given paid for a ‘no display’ look. Anyone who has claimed differently, does now not know the actual information.” He also told Fox the ex-quarterback instead “were given paid for doing each and every radio spot that was once asked.”
Herschmann has not responded to ESPN’s requests for comment on Favre’s involvement and could not be reached Tuesday.
The audit also said Prevacus, a company developing a concussion drug in which Favre is the top investor and stockholder, received TANF funds.
Favre’s longtime attorney, Bud Holmes, reportedly was replaced on the welfare case last month with Herschmann, a former top lawyer in the Trump White House. Herschmann told Axios that Favre had “no concept that welfare finances have been getting used or that others have been concerned in unlawful behavior.”
According to text messages made public in the civil lawsuit, Favre asked New: “If you have been to pay me is there anyway the media can in finding out the place it got here from and what kind of?” New has since pleaded guilty to fraud.
Favre continued to press state officials for money even after being told by then-governor Phil Bryant that misusing public funds could be illegal, texts show.
According to the state audit, New’s nonprofit agreed to a sublease with the university’s athletic foundation for “a multi-purpose wellness middle at the University’s campus,” which White told ESPN was an attempt to legally substantiate the use of TANF funds. New was on the Athletic Foundation’s board at the time.
“In this example [what happened was], ‘OK, smartly, if we rent this volleyball courtroom the use of TANF finances, the way in which we will justify it’s the courtroom shall be used as one of these wellness middle for the group,'” White informed ESPN. White stated TANF finances have been used improperly.
John Davis, who ran the Department of Human Services, has additionally pleaded to blame to conspiring to defraud the state. Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens has declined to touch upon Favre however has informed ESPN that state and federal investigators proceed to seem into the case.