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Hall of Fame and controversy-embroiled quarterback Brett Favre remains at the center of the largest welfare fraud scandal in Mississippi state history.
On Thursday, Favre filed three separate defamation lawsuits against state auditor Shad White as well as national sports commentators Shannon Sharpe and Pat McAfee.
Favre’s lawsuit against Sharpe, a fellow Hall of Famer of 14 seasons who now co-hosts Fox Sports 1’s “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed,” alleges that Sharpe defamed Favre by saying on his broadcast that Favre was a “sorry mofo to steal from the lowest of the low,” and that Favre “stole money from people that really needed that money.”
Similar allegations were made in the lawsuit filed by Favre against former NFL punter and popular sports commentator Pat McAfee.
According to the suit, McAfee called Favre a “thief” who was “stealing from poor people in Mississippi” on “The Pat McAfee Show.” The suit also accuses McAfee of making similar remarks on Twitter.
The lawsuit similarly accuses the state auditor, Shad White, saying, “White has made egregiously false and defamatory statements accusing Favre of ‘stealing taxpayer funds’ and knowingly misusing funds ‘designed to serve poor folks.'”
Mississippi State Auditor responds to Brett Favre lawsuit
A spokesman for the State Auditor’s office said Thursday in response to Favre’s lawsuit, “Everything Auditor White has said about this case is true and is backed by years of audit work by the professionals at the Office of the State Auditor.”
Favre was questioned by the FBI after he received payments totaling $1.1 million from Mississippi in 2017 and 2018 that were marked for “motivational speeches.” The problem is that $1.1 million was taken directly from Mississippi’s welfare funds, and Favre never made those speeches.
Favre eventually paid the money back, but the state auditor demanded Favre also pay $228,000 in interest, which has yet to occur, according to public record.
Of the total $77 million in Mississippi’s welfare funds, a portion went to paying Favre, building a new volleyball court at Southern Mississippi University (where Favre played college football and his daughter is on the volleyball team), along with grant money given to a Florida-based drug company where Favre was the biggest shareholder.
ESPN reports the athletic foundation at Favre’s alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi, also received $5 million in TANF funds, according to a state audit.
State sues Favre to recover misspent welfare funds
In Sept. 2022, text messages showed Favre pushed state officials to fund for a new volleyball facility on campus during the time his daughter was on the team.
The state of Mississippi is now suing Favre in a civil case that seeks to recover misspent welfare money.
As the state of Mississippi investigates Favre, its political candidates are using the historic scandal to advocate for themselves and continue to push for accountability.
The University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation is one of 10 parties the Mississippi Department of Human Services is seeking to sue in an expanding lawsuit that it hopes will recoup millions of dollars of welfare funds lost.