Brett Favre filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought against him by the state of Mississippi connected with the state’s welfare scandal.
The motion was filed Monday afternoon on Favre’s behalf by attorney Eric Herschmann in the circuit court of Hinds County in Mississippi’s first judicial district.
“Brett Favre has done nothing wrong. MDHS [Mississippi Department of Human Services] does not and cannot allege that he did, and its claims against him and his company must be dismissed,” the motion begins. “It is apparent that MDHS has sued Favre, a Mississippi and national celebrity, in an effort to deflect responsibility for its own egregious wrongdoing in allowing $94 million of its public funds to be misspent—funds for which MDHS itself admits it was ‘exclusively responsible.’ There is no factual or legal basis to include Favre in this lawsuit or for the torrent of the unjustified negative publicity concerning Favre that MDHS has outrageously instigated—publicity that properly should be directed at MDHS, not Favre.”
Tens of millions of dollars in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds were misspent by Mississippi’s welfare department. A substantial portion of the money in question was diverted to the nonprofit Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC), whose CEO Nancy New pled guilty to welfare fraud in August. John Davis, the former director of MDHS, pled guilty to the same crime in September.
From MCEC, Favre himself received more than $1 million in funds for promotional work, which he has since repaid. Prevacus, Inc., a concussion treatment and prevention company in which Favre is an investor, received $2.1 million.
Favre was sued by the state this past May.
Favre’s motion states that the former quarterback was unaware that this money had come from TANF funds. Favre has repeatedly denied knowledge that these were welfare funds since this story came to light in 2020.
Favre received the $1.1 million from MCEC for promotional work. The state has claimed that Favre did not fulfill these duties; Favre states that he did in fact do radio ad reads for a program called Families First of Mississippi. Furthermore, Favre’s motion says that he already repaid this money, and that the repayment was acknowledged by State Auditor Shad White.
“Once Favre was informed that he had received TANF money, he voluntarily returned it, completing the repayment more than six months before MDHS filed this lawsuit, and leading State Auditor White to “applaud Mr. Favre for his good faith effort to make this right and make the taxpayers and TANF families whole,” the motion says. “In other words, Favre has already repaid to MDHS the only funds MDHS alleges he received.”
The motion also says that White “has repeatedly stated, he is not aware of any evidence suggesting that Favre knew that he received TANF money—no such evidence exists, because Favre did not know.”
Later, the motion states that Favre was not the “recipient” of the money that the state is seeking to reclaim as it pertains to Prevacus.
“As to the $2.1 million payment, Section 27(1) permits MDHS to recover only from a ‘recipient’ of a wrongful payment. The Complaint alleges that Prevacus was the recipient of the payment, and MDHS’s claim to recover it from Favre must also be dismissed,” the motion says.
Herschmann, Favre’s attorney, provided a statement about the motion to The Post.
“Today, after a thorough investigation, we filed a motion to dismiss the complaint against Mr. Favre. MDHS’s lawsuit is nothing more than a baseless attempt to blame Brett Favre for its own failure to oversee the welfare funds placed in its trust,” the statement said. “Mr. Favre never had any control over how Mississippi spent its welfare funds. He never made any misrepresentations to anyone. As the State Auditor has acknowledged, Mr. Favre never knew welfare funds were involved in the first place. Once he found out, he returned all of the funds he received—six months before MDHS filed its lawsuit. As the State Auditor also has acknowledged, Mr. Favre’s conduct deserves applause, not a frivolous lawsuit. We believe that after the Court reviews our motion, this case will be dismissed.”