Brett Favre, wrestlers sued by Mississippi over welfare misspending: report
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The Mississippi Department of Human Services is suing 38 individuals or companies, including retired NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, for spending millions of dollars to help the country’s poorest state, according to multiple reports.
The lawsuit, filed in Hinds County Circuit Court, is aimed at recovering more than $ 20 million in cash, claiming that the defendants were “invincible” from the anti-poverty program for temporary assistance to needy families.
“I don’t understand these people,” attorney Brad Piaget, who wrote the lawsuit, told Mississippi Today. “What kind of person would decide that the money the law should spend on helping the poorest people in the poorest states would be better spent on their own families, their own pet projects and their own celebrities?”
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The lawsuit was filed a few weeks after the mother-son pair of Nancy New, 69, and Zachary New, 39, pleaded guilty to state criminal charges for misappropriation. The two agreed to testify against others in corruption cases, which auditor Shad White said is the largest in Mississippi in two decades.
They ran a nonprofit group and education agency in the state that received millions of dollars under a contract with the Mississippi Department of Human Services; However, most of the money was illegally sent to other nonprofits or contractors who were considered “second-tier” recipients of the department, the outlet reported.
Some welfare money was spent on drug rehabilitation in California for former pro wrestler Brett Debias. He was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by his father and brother, Ted Debias Sr., and Ted “Teddy” Debias Jr.
In 2020, Nancy and Zachary, along with John Davis, former executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, and three others, were indicted in state court on misappropriation charges.
Last year, White demanded $ 77 million in misappropriation of welfare funds, including $ 1.1 million paid to Favre, who lives in Mississippi and has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
White has accused Favre of paying for the speech and not appearing. Favre said he did not know the money came from a welfare fund, noting that his charity has provided millions of dollars in cash to help poor children in Mississippi and Wisconsin.
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The lawsuit alleges Favre was once an investor in Florida-based company Privacas and the largest person outside the stockholder who was trying to make a connection drug. The lawsuit alleges that in December 2018, Favre expected Pravakas CEO Jack Vanlandingham to ask Nancy to use welfare money to invest in the company.
In January 2019, Favre hosted a Prevacus stock sale presentation at his home attended by several defendants, where an agreement was reached between Prevacus and its corporate affiliate PreSolMD Inc to spend “significant” welfare grants.
The lawsuit claims that the stock was in the name of Nancy and Jack but also for the financial benefit of Favre, Vanlandingham and the two companies. It claims payment of $ 2.1 million in welfare grants that were wrongly paid to the two organizations that year.
Favre’s longtime agent James “Bus” did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Cook Gadget Clock Digital.
The expected filing comes a few months after the Auditor General’s Office filed a defamation suit against the Attorney General’s Office.
“I applaud the party that filed this lawsuit and appreciate that the state is taking another step toward justice for taxpayers,” White said. “We will continue to work with our federal partners – who have been given access to all of our evidence for over two years – to ensure that the case is fully investigated.”
Attorney General Lynn Fitch and Governor Tate Reeves said in a joint statement Monday: “With this case, our goal is to seek justice for the broken faith of the people of Mississippi and to recover the funds that were misappropriated.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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