Brett Favre hasn’t repaid $600,000 of $1.1 million he promised from Mississippi welfare fund

Gabriela Szymanowska
Mississippi Clarion Ledger

A year after promising to pay back $1.1 million in welfare money he received, Brett Favre has yet to pay back $600,000 of that money — and he's not under a formal agreement to do so.

Favre voluntarily repaid the state of Mississippi $500,000 in May 2020 after the state auditor's office found that a nonprofit paid the retired NFL quarterback welfare money for speeches he never gave.

Logan Reeves, spokesperson for the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor, said no one in the office has spoken to Favre since he made his promise and paid the $500,000.

"There is no update to provide," Reeves said. "He made the commitment which was in our press release a year ago today. He made the commitment to continue repaying the remainder of the $1.1 million after he made the $500,000 remittance."

Reeves stressed that Favre is not under any formal agreement to pay the remaining funds. Reeves added Favre hasn't been charged with a crime. 

A representative of Favre did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Reeves said the Office of the Inspector General is investigating the $94 million in welfare spending that was "questioned" during a single audit in 2020, including the $1.1 million that was paid to Favre's company, Favre Enterprises.

Because the investigation is still ongoing, no demands have been made for the money to be repaid — and Favre might not be the one who has to pay back the funds, Reeves said.

"If he decides to make no further payment, that's his decision until there's some type of callback action taken by the federal government," Reeves said. "And that may or may not happen."

Brett Favre was inducted into the  Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

Reeves said it is up to the Office of the Inspector General to decide whether the $94 million will need to be repaid and if the $1.1 million is included in the total. The agency will also decide who is responsible to pay what is owed.

It could be that the Office of the Inspector General officials decide the state of Mississippi is required to pay out of its general fund, Reeves said, or the Mississippi Department of Human Services will have to pay through having some funds withheld in the future. The agency could also decide that Favre will be the one responsible for paying. 

Favre received funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program in 2017 and 2018, according to a report the auditor released in May 2020. The money came through the Mississippi Department of Human Services and a nonprofit, the Mississippi Community Education Center.

The money that went to Favre was only a fraction of the tens of millions of dollars the Mississippi Department of Human Services was doling out in block grants for nonprofits. The block grants allowed private, nonprofit organizations to handle millions in taxpayer money that had loose guidelines on how to spend it.

At the same time as the agency was doling out the grants, more than 98% of individual applications for welfare were denied by the agency.

Favre told an ESPN radio station in May 2020 that 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. He claimed the payments were for his role in public service advertisements that aired on the radio.

Six people were indicted in state court in February 2020, including the former head of the state's welfare agency and top officials at the Mississippi Community Education Center.