JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A few days after it was announced the former NFL quarterback Brett Favre repaid $600,000 in state welfare money he accepted for speeches where he didn’t appear, he released a statement on Facebook. State Auditor Shad White responded to the post.
Favre released the following statement:
As I have said before, I would never accept money for no-show appearances, as the state of Mississippi auditor, Shad White, claims. I am doing all that I can to support this investigation to make things right for the people of Mississippi and I have shared all that I know, which is that I was paid for three years of commercials that I did, and I paid taxes on the money, as I should. Of course the money was returned because I would never knowingly take funds meant to help our neighbors in need, but for Shad White to continue to push out this lie that the money was for no-show events is something I cannot stay silent about.Despite all efforts to seek clarification with the auditor, he has never granted a call back or a meeting with me, but has instead only repeatedly run to the media. Prioritizing sensational headlines over seeking truth is doing a disservice to the people of our great state who deserve answers and a resolution.Brett Favre, former NFL quarterback
White fired back when he commented on the same post on social media.
These are lies. I am not going to hide how much you were paid, why you were paid, or conduct back room meetings to make this go away.The contract that justified the payment of $1.1 million in welfare money to you said you were to “speak at three (3) total speaking engagements,” “provide one (1) radio spot during the contract period,” and “provide one (1) keynote speaking engagement.” The CPA for Favre Enterprises confirmed this was your contract. You did not give the speeches. You have acknowledged this in statements to my agents.To suggest my office has not met with you is a lie as well. You have met with agents who work for me. They showed you the contract. They showed you the emails confirming the contract quoted above is how you were paid. To suggest I have only communicated this to you via the media is wrong. I’m doing my job—that’s it. You can continue to use your megaphone as a celebrity to drown out the facts, but it will not change the facts.Shad White, Mississippi State Auditor
In 2017 and 2018, a nonprofit contracted to run then-Gov. Phil Bryant’s “family-stabilizing” initiative called Families First for Mississippi paid Favre $1.1 million in federal welfare money to promote the anti-poverty program.
Once the auditor uncovered the payments in May of 2020, Favre said he didn’t know the money came from a federal program intended to serve very poor families, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and promised to repay the funds. He paid $500,000 initially, the auditor’s office said, but had not returned the additional $600,000 more than a year later.
On Oct. 12, the auditor sent Favre a letter demanding he pay $828,000 — the $600,000 plus interest. Favre still owes the $282,000 in interest, the office said Wednesday.