MILWAUKEE (AP) - Brett Favre on Friday disputed a Mississippi state auditor’s report that said the Hall of Fame quarterback received $1.1 million in welfare money for multiple speaking engagements that he didn’t actually attend.
Favre told ESPN Wisconsin’s “Wilde & Tausch” radio show he instead was being paid for his role in radio public service announcements and advertisements that ran for a few years in Mississippi. Favre reiterated that he is paying back the money.
“I did ads that ran for three years, was paid for it, no different than any other time that I’ve done endorsements for other people, and I went about my way,” Favre said. “For (the auditor) to say I took $1.1 million and didn’t show up for speaking engagements is absolutely, 100% not true.”
An audit released Monday had said Favre Enterprises received $500,000 in December 2017 and $600,000 in June 2018 from the Mississippi Community Education Center, a nonprofit group whose former leader has been indicted in a welfare embezzlement scheme.
Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the U.S., and the community education center had contracts with Human Services to spend money through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, also known as TANF.
According to the auditor’s report, Favre was supposed to make speeches for at least three events but “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.”
Favre emphasized Friday that the money had nothing to do with scheduled speaking engagements and that he has “never no-showed anybody.”
“That’s not me,” Favre said. “I mean, I would certainly never do anything like that.”
Auditor Shad White said his office received $500,000 from Favre on Wednesday, plus a commitment that Favre will repay the other $600,000 in installments over the next few months. He praised the QB for his “good-faith effort to make this right.”
Favre, who lives in Mississippi, said he was unaware that the money he was receiving came from welfare funds.
“When you are paid by your employer, do you ask them where the money comes from?” Favre asked on the radio show.
Favre said he wished the auditor’s office had contacted him, though White said Friday “we reached out to his staff before the audit came out.”
Favre is a three-time MVP who spent the majority of his career with the Green Bay Packers (1992-2007) but also made appearances with the Atlanta Falcons (1991), New York Jets (2008) and Minnesota Vikings (2009-10). He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.