Favre, Dupree among recipients of illegal funds, according to report
JACKSON, Miss. – State Auditor Shad White’s office served demands for more than $77 million of misspent TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) money on Tuesday. The individuals who signed off on the illegal spending, such as former Department of Human Services Executive Director John Davis, along with vendors who were paid those funds yet failed to do all the work required under their contracts, received these demands.
“Two years ago, my office audited DHS,” said White, a Sandersville native. “After two years of work, we found tens of millions of dollars in misspending. Those findings have now been confirmed, this month, by an independent forensic audit commissioned by DHS. It’s time for the taxpayers to attempt to recover what we lost.”
Former pro wrestler Ted Dibiase and his sons and ex-pro football players Brett Favre and Marcus Dupree are among the people who received hundreds of thousands of dollars of benefits for services they didn’t provide, according to the findings.
DHS’ forensic audit, which was conducted by an independent, outside CPA firm from Maryland, released its findings on Oct. 1. “After our first DHS audit, I told the public we would have to consult with our federal partners at the Department of Health and Human Services before coming to final conclusions about who owed what money back,” White said “Those partners were waiting for this forensic audit. Now that it’s complete, we are in a position to demand the illegally-spent welfare funds be returned to the state.”
The Auditor’s office issued a demand to Davis for $96.313 million – which includes interest – for his role authorizing over $77 million in illegal TANF spending.
Two nonprofits, the Mississippi Community Education Center and the Family Resource Center, either misspent or improperly dispersed portions of that $77 million, meaning the money was ultimately misspent by a vendor to the nonprofit. As a result, the board and leadership of MCEC were served with a demand for $68.159 million. FRC’s board and leadership were served with a demand for $15.549 million.
Auditors issued additional demands to vendors who received part of the $77 million in welfare spending but did not completely fulfill the terms of their contracts:
• Ted Dibiase Jr. for $3.903 million, plus $722,299 for Heart of David Ministries, controlled by Ted Dibiase Sr., and Brett Dibiase for $225,950;
• Favre Enterprises, along with Brett Favre and Robert Culumber, for $828,000;
• The Marcus Dupree Foundation, controlled by Marcus Dupree, for $789,534;
• JTS Enterprises and Transformational Ventures, controlled by Brian Jeff Smith, for $674,715;
• Austin Smith for $378,791;
• NCC Ventures, controlled by Nicholas Coughlin, for $237,915;
• Warren Washington Issaquena Sharkey Community Action Agency, along with agency leaders Jan Vaughn, Jannis Williams, Janice Jelks and Delinda Robinson, for $75,261;
• Zach New, $74,118 for payments received from FRC;
• Nancy New, $2,589 for payments received from FRC
Former DHS Deputy Director Jacob Black was also served with a demand for $1,824 for unallowable first-class air travel.
These board members, nonprofit executives and individuals are liable jointly and severally for the demands. This means the individuals share responsibility for repaying portions of the total amount with John Davis.
If the demanded amounts are not repaid within 30 days, the Attorney General’s Office is responsible for enforcing the demands in court. These demands are civil in nature, not criminal. A civil demand does not imply criminal liability.
“I’m grateful that DHS Director Bob Anderson has worked with the Attorney General’s Office to hire an attorney to recover these funds,” White said. “These demands serve as the next step in the recovery process. If there is more money that the Attorney General believes has been misspent than what we have identified in these demands, we stand ready to help them investigate if needed. More demands are possible.”