The biggest corruption case in Mississippi involves not only Brett Favre, but also a number of sports figures with ties to the state.

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s largest corruption case in which tens of millions of dollars meant for low-income families were misspent involves a number of sports figures with ties to the state, including NFL royalty Brett Favre and prominent former professional wrestler.

At the center, however, is the former head of the state Department of Human Services, John Davis, who pleaded guilty Sept. 22 on federal charges of conspiracy and theft and state charges of conspiracy and fraud against the government. Davis agreed to testify against others in the case. Other people who have pleaded guilty to state charges include a mother and son who ran a nonprofit and education company.

Here are the sports figures named in a civil actionwhich was filed on May 9, along with details from that lawsuit, their responses, if any, and whether they’ve been charged.

RELATED: Court documents tie money to Brett Favre’s Mississippi State volleyball complex


The Hall of Famer, legendary Green Bay Packers quarterback, 1997 Super Bowl winner and University of Southern Mississippi graduate is one of the main celebrities in the scandal — although Favre faces no criminal charges.

The state Department of Human Services paid $1.1 million in welfare benefits to a nonprofit organization known as the Mississippi Community Education Center, which then paid Favre Enterprises twice for speaking engagements, “radio and promotional activities and business partner development.” The idea was that the money would go toward a new $5 million volleyball court in Southern Miss., which Favre built and where Favre’s daughter played volleyball.

Favre failed to appear and later returned the money, although $228,000 in interest is still unpaid.

Text messages released in court documents also show Favre texted then-Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant in July 2019 to ask if welfare money could go toward construction an indoor training facility for the soccer team in the same school. That didn’t work: In September, Bryant wrote to Favre that “we have to follow the law.”

Favre is also named in the lawsuit as the “largest individual outside investor” in biotech firm Prevacus (now Odyssey Health) and suggested the CEO inquire about using Human Services cash to invest in the company’s stock. That turned into $2.1 million in government money for Prevacus and “corporate affiliate” PreSolMD.

Favre did not respond to multiple AP requests for comment.

RELATED: Favre also sought welfare money for the football facility, court records show


Ted DiBiase Sr. — The Million Dollar Man — was a staple of professional wrestling in the 1980s and ’90s, with his shiny custom belt and catchphrase “everyone has a price.” DiBiase later became a Christian minister. He lives in Mississippi and owns Heart of David Ministries.

His son Teddy, who was a WWE wrestler in the 2000s and 2010s, lives in Mississippi and is associated with Priceless Ventures and Familiae Orientem, two limited liability companies based in the state. Bret DiBiase also lives in the state and owns Restore 2 LLC. Both brothers were professional wrestlers for a time.

DiBiase’s businesses and the DiBiase men are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Heart of David Ministries received $1.7 million in welfare funds “under (the) guise of a ‘leadership training’ organization.” Organization was ordered to repay about $722,000 in welfare funds. The elder DiBiase also received $250,000 through DiBiase Development Inc. to become a motivational speaker.

In response to the civil suit, DiBiase denied the state’s allegations and requested that the lawsuit be dismissed.

Teddy DiBiase received “more than $3 million … in federal anti-poverty funds” over two years for things like “leadership training” through Priceless Ventures and support for the “many needs of urban youth” through Familiae Orientem. None of the services were provided.

Davis, who considered Teddy DiBiase a friend, also gave him the title of director of sustainable change for the Department of Human Services, even though he does not work for the state.

The state told Teddy DiBiase about a year ago that he needed to pay back $3.9 million. In his response to the civil suit, DiBiase repeatedly states that the allegations are “not directed” against him and that because he lacks “sufficient knowledge or information to ascertain the truth” of the allegations, he denies them.

Brett DiBiase, who was also a professional wrestler for a while, worked as an employee of the state Department of Human Services for about six months, ending in September 2017. After that, DiBiase received a salary of $250,000 in welfare payments from a nonprofit organization associated with Davis. and $130,000 in a separate welfare payment from another organization for “substance abuse training.” DiBiase also formed his LLC and received $48,000 from MDHS for additional training.

Davis also sent welfare money through a non-profit organization to pay $160,000 for DiBiase to permanently reside in a luxury drug rehab facility in California.

Bret Dibiase pleaded guilty in 2020 to a felony for paying $48,000 and agreed to pay it back. A year ago, the state auditor demanded that he return $225,950.

In a July response to the civil suit, he said he was “not guilty of any act, fault or failure to assist,” had no liability to the state and said he was “personally unaware of any false statements or fictitious agreements regarding illegal use of TANF funds.” TANF is temporary assistance to low-income families.


Dupree was recruited out of high school in Mississippi in the early 1980s, eventually committed to Oklahoma and was heralded as a possible Heisman contender, but left midway through his sophomore season and ended up at Southern Miss.

Dupree, who was the subject of ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary in 2010, spent two seasons in the NFL before returning to Mississippi.

President of the Marcus Dupree nonprofit foundation, he was a “celebrity endorser” and “motivational speaker” for the two major nonprofits involved in the scandal. The lawsuit alleges he received “significant amounts in TANF funds,” but does not specify how much. This is reported by Mississippi Today he earned at least $100,000.

Separately, his foundation received hundreds of thousands of dollars — some of it TANF funds — that were used to buy a 15-acre property for himself and to “presumably rent” that same property.

Dupree was not charged and refused to comply with the state’s order to repay the $789,534. In an ESPN report published on September 30he denied the allegations in the lawsuit.


Lacoste was a linebacker at Mississippi State in the mid-1990s and played a year in the Canadian Football League. He became a trainer and owner of a fitness business, as well as president of the non-profit organization Victory Sports Foundation. Both he and the nonprofit appear in the civil suit.

The suit says Lacoste “directly proposed” to Davis that his nonprofit receive some of the welfare money for conducting “fitness classes” for government officials – including the current governor and then-Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who was a client of Lacoste, reported Mississippi Today — political workers and other participants in October 2018. The “Victory” sports fund received $1.3 million for three bootcamps.

Lacoste, who has not been charged, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in July, arguing that the state “failed to state a breach of contract claim.” Lacoste also said in the filings that Mississippi “invites a litany of incorrect, persuasive misrepresentations” of state and federal law that “lack factual evidence to support.”


The Northeast Mississippi Football Coaches Association received $30,000 in early 2019 donations “in connection with Ted DiBiase Jr. serving as banquet speaker.”