Mississippi revises demands on Favre in welfare lawsuit

Dec 4, 2022, 8:31 PM | Updated: Dec 5, 2022, 12:40 pm
This Sept. 16, 2022 photo shows the volleyball courts in the Wellness Center at the University of S...

This Sept. 16, 2022 photo shows the volleyball courts in the Wellness Center at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss. In a court filing on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, the Mississippi Department of Human Services demanded that retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre and the University of Southern Mississippi repay millions of dollars of welfare money that went toward building the volleyball facility. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Department of Human Services on Monday changed its demands against retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre in a lawsuit that seeks repayment of misspent welfare money that was intended to help some of the poorest people in the U.S.

The department dropped its demand of $1.1 million against Favre, acknowledging he has already repaid that money for an unfulfilled pledge of public speeches. But it made a new demand of up to $5 million against Favre and a university sports foundation, saying money from an anti-poverty program was improperly used to pay for a volleyball arena at the University of Southern Mississippi.

The volleyball facility was a pet project of Favre, and he pledged to lead fundraising efforts for it. Previous filings in the civil lawsuit show text message exchanges between Favre and others about directing money to the volleyball facility from a nonprofit organization that had Human Services contracts. But until Monday, the Human Services lawsuit had not sought to recoup money for the facility.

Favre is a University of Southern Mississippi alumnus, and his daughter started playing volleyball at the Hattiesburg school in 2017. The volleyball facility, also called a wellness center, was completed in late 2019.

In a court filing Monday, the Department of Human Services acknowledged Favre has already repaid $1.1 million he received from the Mississippi Community Education Center. The nonprofit organization had contracts with the department to spend money through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families anti-poverty program.

The organization paid Favre for public speaking to help raise money for the volleyball facility, but the state auditor said Favre failed to make the speeches. The Department of Human Services court filing Monday said Favre “possibly recorded a single twenty-second radio advertisement” for that $1.1 million.

“In 2020, Favre received a demand from the Office of State Auditor requiring the $1.1 million be repaid with interest,” the new Human Services court filing said. “Recognizing that he had no right to payment for services never performed with funds designed for needy families, Favre repaid the $1.1 million to the State.”

Auditor Shad White said last week that Favre still owed more than $200,000 in interest on the $1.1 million.

The Human Services court filing Monday said Favre has not repaid $5 million in TANF money “that he orchestrated” for the Mississippi Community Education Center to pay to the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation to satisfy his guarantee to fund construction of a university volleyball facility.

The leaders of the Mississippi Community Education Center are Nancy New and her son Zachary New. They have both been on the board of directors for the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation, as has Favre.

John Davis, who was Department of Human Services director from 2016 to 2019, agreed to enter into a sham lease with Nancy New and Zachary New to use welfare money to pay for construction of the volleyball facility, the new court filing says.

Favre’s attorney Eric Herschmann said in a statement Monday that the department’s new $5 million demand against Favre is groundless. Herschmann said the department left out key facts, including that the Mississippi attorney general’s office signed off on the transfer of money from the Department of Human Services to the University of Southern Mississippi “all with the full knowledge and consent” of then-Gov. Phil Bryant and other state officials.

“That a private citizen, like non-lawyer Brett Favre, could have any liability under these circumstances is baseless,” Herschmann said.

Davis pleaded guilty in September to federal and state charges tied to the welfare misspending in what the state auditor has called Mississippi’s largest public corruption case in decades. Nancy New and Zachary New pleaded guilty in April to state charges of misspending welfare money. All three await sentencing and have agreed to testify against others.

In a Nov. 28 court filing, Favre’s attorney asked a judge to dismiss Favre from the Human Services lawsuit that seeks to recover millions of dollars in misspent welfare money. The judge has not acted on that request.

Favre grew up in Mississippi and played football at the University of Southern Mississippi before a long career with the Green Bay Packers that included a win in Super Bowl XXXI. He was traded to the New York Jets in 2008 and played there one year before playing his final two seasons for the Minnesota Vikings.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Signage outside PayPal headquarters in San Jose, Calif., is pictured on March 10, 2015. PayP...
Associated Press

PayPal to cut 2,000 jobs in latest tech company cost-cutting

PayPal said Tuesday it will trim about 7% of its total workforce, or about 2,000 full-time workers
8 hours ago
This combo of booking images provided by the Shelby County Sheriff's Office shows, from left, Tadar...
Associated Press

Records: Minor infractions for officers before Nichols case

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Four of five Memphis officers charged with killing Tyre Nichols after violently beating him had infractions on their records from previous police work. Their transgressions were mainly procedural but included using minor physical force during an arrest and failing to fill out a form about it, failing to report a domestic […]
1 day ago
The sanctuary at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church is seen before the start the funeral servic...
Associated Press

Live updates | Funeral for Tyre Nichols

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Live Updates on the funeral for Tyre Nichols (all times local): 9 a.m. The funeral for Tyre Nichols was expected to take place Wednesday in Memphis, Tennessee, and draw family, friends and civil rights activists amid a winter storm affecting the city. The service was delayed until 1 p.m. Central Standard […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Cryptocurrency fraud scheme lands man 8 years in prison

BOSTON (AP) — The founder of a cryptocurrency and virtual payment services company who authorities say cheated dozens of investors out of about $7.5 million, which he used to buy a house, cars, jewelry, and other luxuries, has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison. Randall Crater, 52, founded Las Vegas-based My Big […]
1 day ago
FILE - Highway BR-163 stretches between the Tapajos National Forest, left, and a soy field in Belte...
Associated Press

Brazil authorities probe Amazon ties to capital attacks

SAO PAULO (AP) — On the edge of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, the Rovaris family is a symbol of a pioneering success story. The family arrived in the state of Mato Grosso in the 1970s as part of a wave of agricultural expansion promoted by the country’s then-military dictatorship. In a short span, the Rovaris clan […]
1 day ago
A hiring sign is displayed outside of a restaurant in Arlington Heights, Ill., Monday, Jan. 30, 202...
Associated Press

U.S. job openings rise in December to 11 million

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. job openings rose to 11 million in December, a sign the American labor market remains hot and a blow to the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool it off. The Labor Department said Wednesday that openings were up from 10.4 million in November. Economists had expected job openings to drop slightly in […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Mississippi revises demands on Favre in welfare lawsuit