Sometimes, it’s better to say nothing at all.
On the same day the Mississippi State Auditor announced that Hall of Fame quarterback (and Mississippi native) Brett Favre will pay back $1.1 million in allegedly misappropriated welfare funds for services that an audit determined he never provided, Favre issued a statement that contradicts the notion that Favre received money for nothing.
“My agent is often approached by different products and brands for me to appear in one way or another,” Favre said on Twitter. “This request was no different, and I did numerous ads for Families First. I have never received monies for obligations I didn’t meet. To reiterate Auditors [sic] White’s statement, I was unaware that the money being dispersed was paid for out of funds not intended for that purpose, and because of that I am refunding the full amount back to Mississippi.
“I have spent my entire career helping children through Favre 4 Hope donating nearly $10 million to underserved and underprivileged children in Mississippi and Wisconsin. It has brought a ton of joy to my life, and I would certainly never do anything to take away from the children I have fought to help! I love Mississippi and I would never knowingly do anything to take away from those that need it most.”
The most important sentence in Favre’s statement is the highlighted one: “I have never received monies for obligations I didn’t meet.” Favre is basically saying that, despite the findings of the audit, he did indeed perform the services contemplated by the $1.1 million payment. So why then did he pay the money back?
The way Favre tells it, he received payment for services to be rendered, he rendered the services, and he paid the money back only after it came to light where the money came from. That will do nothing to reduce the zeal of state (less likely) or federal (more likely) prosecutors who will see the potential to catch a big fish and, in turn, to send a powerful message of deterrence from sea to shining sea to anyone who would be inclined to embezzle funds or to indirectly realize the fruits of misappropriation.
Ultimately, Favre may be entirely clean on this. For now, there’s no specific reason to think he isn’t. The circumstances, however, continue to cry out for further examination. With Favre now suggesting that he actually earned the seven-figure payment that he’ll be refunding, a full investigation becomes even more appropriate, if not necessary.