State Auditor Finds Giant Scandal

State Auditor Finds Giant Scandal

( – Mississippi’s state auditor is investigating a scandal he says is the state’s biggest ever case of public fraud. Investigative journalists have uncovered a huge scam that diverted millions of dollars from welfare recipients to a new volleyball stadium. Emerging evidence shows the corruption went right to the top of the state’s politics.

Last September, John Davis, the former head of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges. Davis helped misdirect over $77 million, which was supposed to be spent on welfare and social services, to personal expenses and projects that benefited affluent areas. One of those projects, a $5 million volleyball center, is now threatening to draw other public figures into the scandal.

In 2017, former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre reportedly asked for $1.1 million of state funds to be diverted from a welfare fund, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), to his latest project, a volleyball stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi. It seems he knew this was an improper use of the money; according to CNN, in a text to the nonprofit responsible for handing out funds, he asked if there was “anyway the media can find out where it came from” in regards to the money they were paying him for something.

In the end, Favre got around $4 million of misappropriated welfare payments for the stadium project. Now, texts show then-Governor Phil Bryant (R) was also involved in the scam; just weeks after he fired Davis over the fraud allegations, he was also pressuring a nonprofit group — which was run by a friend of his wife — to divert money to Favre. The former football player denies any wrongdoing and is in the middle of a civil lawsuit on the matter.

In addition to the stadium deal, Davis also diverted millions of dollars to his friends and relatives. Retired wrestler Ted DiBiase and his sons got at least $5 million; former footballer Marcus Dupree used $371,000 of welfare money for the down payment on a luxury home. Davis even stole $160,000 to put his son through rehab in Malibu, California. It appears a lot of rich and influential Mississippians have been involved in stealing from the state’s poor.

We’ll keep you updated as more information on this scandal becomes available.

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