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As a Scandal Grows in Mississippi, Welfare for the Well Connected

As a Scandal Grows in Mississippi, Welfare for the Well Connected #Scandal #Grows #Mississippi #Welfare #Connected Welcome to Americanah Blog, here is the new story we have for you today:

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The state claims that millions intended for the underprivileged in the nation’s poorest state instead went to initiatives that benefited the wealthy, such as a volleyball stadium at Brett Favre’s alma mater.

In response to a $1.1 million plan for marketing activities that would really go toward building the stadium, he questioned in 2017: “Is there any way the media might find out where it came from and how much?” A number of years’ worth of text messages concerning the project were revealed when they were revealed by Mississippi Today, a small nonprofit news site that has regularly led reporting on the topic, when they were filed in court last week.

The former football star Brett Favre texted a query to the head of a nonprofit giving out money intended to go to welfare recipients in the nation’s poorest state as he became more involved in a scheme that diverted federal welfare money to build a volleyball stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi that cost more than $5 million.

In a sprawling scandal that goes far beyond Favre, much more than that money has been revealed. Political appointees, former football stars, former professional wrestlers, business leaders, and a variety of associates of the state’s former Republican governor are also on the ballot.

Approximately $5 million was transferred to Ted DiBiase, a flashy former wrestler once known as “The Million Dollar Man,” and two of his sons, as well as numerous organisations related to them, including a ministry, according to a complaint filed by the state in May. According to the lawsuit, a large portion of the funds were used on fictitious services, false employment, first-class travel, and even one son’s $160,000 stay at a posh recovery facility in Malibu, California.

On Thursday, John Davis admitted guilt to both federal and state charges of embezzling federal welfare monies while serving as executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services under former governor Phil Bryant. According to court filings, millions of cash were transferred to friends and family.

The state also alleges that Marcus Dupree, a former high school football star and professional running back who was paid to serve as a celebrity endorser and motivational speaker, did not render any contractual services in connection with the $371,000 he was paid to buy and live in a lavish home with a swimming pool and nearby horse pastures in a gated community.

According to the lawsuit, Favre, who amassed more than $140 million in earnings during his Hall of Fame career, received $1.1 million for talks he never delivered. According to the lawsuit, he also coordinated the channelling of more than $2 million in government monies to a biotechnology business in which he had invested.

The three have all denied misconduct and have not been accused of any crimes. However, even the most jaded observers in Mississippi were taken aback by the brazenness of the alleged activity and how profoundly it reflected the injustices ingrained in the history of a state with the highest poverty rate in the country. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, warned that “the profiteering off the poor is unabated.” It’s like Robin Hood in reverse, he said, when you take from the poor and give to the rich.

The lawsuit, which demanded the restitution of more than $24 million against 38 people and organisations, was filed in May and outlined all of the allegations regarding fraudulent awards. The federal welfare programme known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, seems to turn into a slush fund for side projects and personal gain rather than aiding the destitute. The state claims that the funds were diverted for services that were frequently never rendered and would have fallen short of complying with both federal and state standards governing their distribution. The case comes after a state audit that was published in May 2020 and suggested that up to $94 million in TANF funding may have been misappropriated.

One of the biggest public corruption investigations in Mississippi’s history, according to state auditor Shad White, had six persons being detained in February 2020 on suspicion of squandering public monies. The majority of them have entered guilty pleas, but Jody Owens II, the district attorney for Hinds County, warned that additional people would face charges as a result of a joint investigation by federal and state authorities. Requests for comment from the senior DiBiase and Dupree’s attorneys went unanswered. In court documents, Michael Dawkins, the attorney defending DiBiase and his Heart of David Ministries, claimed that his clients had behaved lawfully.

J. Matthew Eichelberger, Dupree’s attorney, published a letter after the initial allegations were made, claiming that his client had earned the money. An inquiry for comment was not answered by Bud Holmes, Favre’s attorney. The football great was unaware that the payments came from a government poverty programs, according to statements made repeatedly by both he and Favre.

According to Aditi Shrivastava, a senior policy analyst with the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C., Mississippi ranks 47th among American states in terms of the amount of money it spends on basic assistance. According to data gathered by the centre, the national median maximum benefit, which is granted to a relatively small number of people, was $498 per month in July 2021, compared to $260 in Mississippi. Faculty members at the University of Southern Mississippi claim that the institution takes pride in admitting first-generation students from the kinds of households that the funding was intended to support. Denis Wiesenburg, professor of marine science and president of the faculty senate, remarked of the recent unwelcome attention, “No one is very thrilled about it.” “We acknowledge that it has damaged the standing of the university.”

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