Brett Favre repaid welfare funds, but is sued for interest

Retired NFL player Brett Favre, a Mississippi native, received the largest welfare payment to an individual in state history.

In that state, to get a grant of $260 a month, a single mom with 2 kids can’t make over $680 a month, and has to satisfy work requirements. Favre was paid $1.1 million from federal temporary aid to needy families (TANF) funds for public service announcements the state claims he never performed (he disputes that).

He seems to have realized those payments were squirrely, because inquired about keeping them secret (see that story here). He also played a role in redirecting another $5 million of TANF funds to building a volleyball facility at a college where his daughter was participating in the sport.

All these funds were part of $94 million of federal welfare funding effectively stolen from the state’s poor by a previous Republican administration.

Favre has claimed he didn’t know the $1.1 million came from federal welfare money, or that it was paid to him illegally. He returned that money to the state, but not very willingly; it was more or less pried out of him.

CNN says, “Favre returned $500,000 in May 2020 and repaid the remaining $600,000 in October 2021 after the state auditor issued a demand letter for it, according to the auditor’s office.” (Read that story here.)

The auditor also demanded $228,000 of interest. It’s unclear from news reports how the interest amount was calculated (i.e., at what interest rate, on what amount, and for what period of time). Favre refused to pay interest, so the state sued him. He wants the court to dismiss that lawsuit. In effect, he wants an interest-free loan from misused federal welfare money that he repaid only reluctantly.

He’s also complaining that media coverage of this story has “smeared” him. No, I don’t think so. If his reputation is sullied, he did it to himself.

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