NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre will not be removed from a civil lawsuit in the largest public fraud scheme in Mississippi history, a panel from the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.
The Associated Press reported that the panel of three high court justices denied an appeal from Favre’s attorneys, which sought to have the quarterback’s name taken off of the suit that seeks to recover $94 million of misspent funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
Favre is accused of accepting money intended to assist impoverished Mississippi families for speeches he failed to deliver. The Kiln native is alleged to have assisted in facilitating public funds to be used to construct a new volleyball facility at his alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi.
The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) in 2022 rescinded a $1.1 million demand from Favre after he reportedly repaid funds he received through Families First — a now-defunct non-profit that fraudulently spent TANF funds — for speaking engagements he did not attend.
Nonetheless, MDHS issued a new $5 million demand to Favre last December for funds he allegedly orchestrated to go toward building the volleyball facility. The department also added the USM Athletic Foundation to its list of defendants in the case.
Attorneys representing Favre claim that the former quarterback had no direct involvement in the efforts to have the welfare money used to construct the infamous athletics center in Hattiesburg. Favre’s legal team also claims the MDHS is using him as a scapegoat to deflect from the department’s initial involvement in the scandal.
Lawyers representing the state of Mississippi argue that Favre’s attorneys have provided no legal reasons for him to be dismissed from the suit and that his status as a celebrity is not sufficient for him to avoid potential repercussions.
No criminal charges have been brought against the former Golden Eagles standout as of now.