Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press
|Brett Favre shows off his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring after receiving it on Oct. 16, 2016. (Photo: Journal Sentinel files)|
JACKSON, Miss. – A nonprofit group caught up in an embezzlement scheme in Mississippi used federal welfare money to pay former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre $1.1 million for multiple speaking engagements, but Favre did not show up for the events, the state auditor said Monday.
Details about payments to Favre are included in an audit of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. State Auditor Shad 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.
The audit was released months after a former Human Services director and five other people were indicted on state charges of embezzling about $4 million. They have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial in what White has called one of Mississippi’s largest public corruption cases in decades.
“If there was a way to misspend money, it seems DHS leadership or their grantees thought of it and tried it,” White said Monday.
White said the Human Services audit “shows the most egregious misspending my staff have seen in their careers.”