WWE Hall of Famer Ted DiBiase Sr.’s Christian nonprofit received more than $2 million in federal welfare funds from the state of Mississippi, according to records obtained by the Clarion Ledger.
DiBiase, known during his time WWE as “The Million Dollar Man,” later became a Christian minister and founded Heart of David Ministries, which received a total of $2,126,739 in federal funds through the Mississippi Department of Human Services since 2017.
The payments began shortly after DiBiase’s son, Brett, was hired by the MDHS. The younger DiBiase, a former WWE wrestler who worked for Heart of David before being hired as the department’s deputy administrator, resigned his post after nine months. He was one of six people indicted last week and accused of embezzling $4.15 million in welfare funds, $48,000 of which was used to pay for Brett’s treatment at a luxury drug rehab facility in California. (Ted DiBiase Sr.’s name and Heart of David do not appear in the indictments.)
Heart of David continued receiving grants from the state paid out through the federal government’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program after Brett DiBiase left the MDHS. The organization reported using the funds it received in 2017 for “general church speaking engagements, religious conferences, school assemblies, and wrestling events,” according to the Clarion Ledger. In a 2018 contract, the nonprofit said the money would be used to “establish a network of partnerships, services and resources throughout Mississippi communities for faith-based and self activities.”
The TANF program is run by states through grants from the federal government. States are responsible for distributing funds to achieve four goals: assisting needy families in caring for their children, job preparation to end parents’ dependence on government benefits, reducing out-of-wedlock pregnancies and encouraging two-parent households.