Favre, Dupree, DiBiases owe state money from welfare audit, state auditor says

The state Auditor’s Office has issued demands for more than $77 million in welfare funds that were misspent, according to an audit conducted by the office.

Among those who were issued demands to return funds are Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, former professional football player Marcus Dupree and former professional wrestler Ted Dibiase Sr.

Auditor Shad White said Tuesday that individuals who signed off on the illegal spending also received a demand for repayment.

All parties have 30 days to repay the state, or the Attorney General will enforce those repayment demands in a civil court.

“Two years ago,my office audited DHS,” said White. “After two years of work, we found tens of millions of dollars in misspending. Those findings have now been confirmed, this month, by an independent forensic audit commissioned by DHS. It’s time for the taxpayers to attempt to recover what we lost.”

According a press release from the state auditor, DHS’s forensic audit was conducted by an independent, outside CPA firm from Maryland. The audit findings were released on October 1.

“After our first DHS audit, I told the public we would have to consult with our federal partners at the Department of Health and Human Services before coming to final conclusions about who owed what money back,” said White. “Those partners were waiting for this forensic audit. Now that it’s complete, we are in a position to demand the illegally spent welfare funds be returned to the state.”

The Auditor’s office issued a demand to former Department of Human Services Executive Director John Davis for $96.313 million – which includes interest – for his role authorizing over $77 million in illegal spending of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds.

Former DHS Deputy Director Jacob Black was also served with a demand for $1,824 for unallowable first-class air travel.

Two nonprofits, the Mississippi Community Education Center and the Family Resource Center, either misspent or improperly dispersed portions of that $77 million, meaning the money was ultimately misspent by a vendor to the nonprofit. As a result, the board and leadership of MCEC were served with a demand for $68.159 million. FRC’s board and leadership were served with a demand for $15.549 million.

In addition, demands to vendors who received part of the $77 million in TANF funds but did not completely fulfill the terms of their contracts include:

  • Austin Smith: $378,791
  • Brett Dibiase: $225,950
  • Favre Enterprises, along with Brett Favre and Robert Culumber: $828,000
  • Heart of David Ministries, controlled by Ted Dibiase, Sr.: $722,299
  • JTS Enterprises and Transformational Ventures, controlled by Brian Jeff Smith: $674,715
  • The Marcus Dupree Foundation, controlled by Marcus Dupree: $789,534
  • Nancy New: $2,589 (for payments received from FRC)
  • NCC Ventures, controlled by Nicholas Coughlin: $237,915
  • Ted Dibiase, Jr.: $3.903 million
  • Warren Washington Issaquena Sharkey Community Action Agency, along with agency leaders Jan Vaughn, Jannis Williams, Janice Jelks, and Delinda Robinson: $75,261
  • Zach New: $74,118 (for payments received from FRC)

These board members, nonprofit executives, and individuals share responsibility for repaying portions of the total amount with John Davis.

“I’m grateful that DHS’s Director Bob Anderson has worked with the Attorney General’s Office to hire an attorney to recover these funds. These demands serve as the next step in the recovery process. If there is more money that the Attorney General believes has been misspent than what we have identified in these demands, we stand ready to help them investigate if needed,” said White. “More demands are possible.”

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