Federal welfare money was used to pay NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre more than $1 million for speaking engagements that he never attended, as a Mississippi state auditor revealed earlier this week, according to The Associated Press.
An audit of the Mississippi Department of Human Services showed Favre and his company, Favre Enterprises, received $1.1 million between December 2017 and June 2018 as payment for at least three speeches he was supposed to give, but Favre allegedly never showed up for the events, per the auditor’s report.
The audit’s release was the latest entry in Mississippi’s ongoing public scandal, which came to light earlier this year when a whistleblower’s tip led to the indictment of a former Human Services director and five others on state charges of embezzling about $4 million.
State Auditor Shad White said his employees identified $94 million in questionable spending by the Mississippi state agency, including the payments to the former Green Bay Packers quarterback — though, Favre will not face criminal charges. The money Favre received was classified as “questioned” costs in the audit report, which White said means “auditors either saw clear misspending or could not verify the money had been lawfully spent.”
According to the AP, payments made to Favre came from the Mississippi Community Education Center, which had contracts with the Department of Human Services to spend money through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
“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 auditor’s report stated.
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Could Favre Still Face Consequences?
Favre isn’t facing criminal charges for his mention in the embezzlement scheme, but the audit does come with a recommendation that could see him potentially face consequences.
As Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber noted, the audit recommends “the Mississippi Department of Human Services take swift and immediate action” with the pursuit of “any legal remedies available against those that have contributed to the widespread fraud, waste and abuse detailed in this report.”
Huber also wrote the following after getting more specifics on how Favre could be impacted:
In an e-mail asking for clarification on whether Favre could be charged, a spokesman for the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor told Packer Central: “Subgrantee money recipients like Favre Enterprises could POTENTIALLY be liable for the funds they obtained, but that decision would be made in court or by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.” However, because it’s unlikely recipients such as Favre were aware the money came from the state’s welfare program, charges are highly unlikely.
Favre has not yet responded to requests for comment from multiple news organizations, but the 50-year-old Mississippi resident will likely remain in the public eye of his native state until he speaks out about his name and company appearing in the auditor’s report.