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JACKSON, Miss. — Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre is repaying $1.1 million in welfare money that he received for multiple speeches where he did not show up, the Mississippi state auditor said Wednesday.
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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.
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Favre's effort to repay the money came two days after White released an audit of spending by the Mississippi Department of Human Services that showed Favre had been paid by 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.
“I want to applaud Mr. Favre for his good faith effort to make this right and make the taxpayers and TANF families whole,” White said in a statement Wednesday. "To date, we have seen no records indicating Mr. Favre knew that TANF was the program that served as the source of the money he was paid.”
The audit released Monday said the center paid Favre Enterprises $500,000 in December 2017 and $600,000 in June 2018, and he was supposed to make speeches for at least three events. The auditor’s report said that “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.”
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Favre, who lives in Mississippi, faces no criminal charges. The audit report lists the payments to him as “questioned” costs, which White said means “auditors either saw clear misspending or could not verify the money had been lawfully spent.”
White said the money being repaid by Favre will be sent to the Department of Human Services.
Favre has not returned multiple text messages sent to him by The Associated Press since Monday. His manager, Bus Cook, told AP on Wednesday: “We've got nothing to say.”
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In an audit, White said his employees identified $94 million in questionable spending by the agency, including payments for sports activities with no clear connection to helping needy people in one of the poorest states of the U.S.