NFL legend Brett Fife has been questioned by the FBI in a scandal involving misappropriation of welfare funds in Mississippi.
Mississippi gave Favre $1.1 million to speak in 2017 and 2018. Not only were Hall of Fame quarterbacks not given to them, but the money was drawn from federal benefit funds.
So Mississippi auditors forced Favre to return the money with interest. Favre has repaid $1.1 million but has yet to repay $228,000 in interest.
Favre’s attorney, Bud Holmes, told NBC News that Favre was being questioned by the FBI in the case. Lawyers have denied Favre wrongdoing and told the media that Favre had no idea that the money he received was being misappropriated from money that was supposed to go to vulnerable families. Favre has not been charged with a crime in the case.
Favre has also lobbied for a multimillion-dollar grant for a pharmaceutical company in which he is the largest shareholder and $5 million in funding for a new volleyball arena at the University of Southern Mississippi, where his daughter is a member of the team and the Long Favre plays football at college.
Text messages that emerged during the scandal show Favre asking an official at the pharmaceutical company Prevacus, who said: “I don’t know if it’s legal, but we need to get him involved.” The text purportedly referred to former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Favre then sent a text saying, “If legal, I’ll give some of my shares to the governor.”
Bryant denied accepting a quid pro quo on the matter.
“As I said before, I will never accept money without showing up, as Mississippi state auditor @ShadWhite claims,” Favre tweets in 2021“I’m doing everything I can to support this investigation and make the right decision for the people of Mississippi, and I’ve shared everything I know that I’ve been paid for three years of advertising that I’ve done, Money, I should.
“Of course the money was returned because I would never knowingly take money to help our neighbours in need, but for Shad White to continue to lie that the money was for an event that didn’t show up is something I can’t keep Silent thing. Despite every effort to seek clarification from the auditor, he never called back or met with me, but repeatedly ran to the media. Putting sensational headlines over seeking truth is a disservice to our great nation People have caused harm and they deserve answers and solutions.”
Overall, the state misappropriated as much as $70 million in federal welfare funds.
John Davis, the former head of the state welfare agency, has pleaded not guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges. Davis was accused by state auditors of offering “faceless” deals to some family members, colleagues and celebrities.
A nephew was paid $400,000 for a coding course. Auditor says nephew can’t code. A connected trainer got $300,000 to run a fitness bootcamp for elected politicians, according to NBC.
Former professional wrestler Ted DiBiase received $3 million from welfare funds. Marcus Dupree, a Mississippian who played Oklahoma State’s running back in the 1980s, also earned $370,000.
To make matters worse, Mississippi has the highest poverty rate in the nation and is notorious for denying benefits to poor families. NBC, citing state data, said 90 percent of applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds were denied.