Feeding Our Future: 2854 Columbus Avenue, (re)visited

Your correspondent visits Subject Premises No. 6 in the Feeding Our Future case.

In the middle of a narrow residential street in south Minneapolis sits an unmarked one-story office building at 2854 Columbus Avenue South. It’s located just north of Lake Street. From the front door, you can see the Midtown Market building.

2854 Columbus Avenue South

According to FBI search warrant No. 1 in the case, this address was the subject of surveillance by an agent of the Internal Revenue Service. Feeding Our Future listed the address as the location of a proprietary food distribution site, said to be capable of feeding up to 2,000 children per day under the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

In records kept by the state Department of Education (MDE), the site is listed as Feeding Our Future-Taylor, despite its location on Columbus Avenue. How it got that label is the subject of a convoluted ta1e that the FBI devotes 15 paragraphs in its search warrant to explaining,

It turns out that both the FBI and the IRS had that building under surveillance at different times. The Feeding Our Future operation on Columbus Avenue South began as an operation under the rival nonprofit network Partners in Nutrition at an address in northeast Minneapolis, six miles north of the Columbus site.

2501 Taylor Street NE is a commercial building at the corner of Lowry and Taylor in the Windom Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, just below St. Anthony.

2501 Taylor St. NE

Although six miles apart in Minneapolis, in the free-food world, the two buildings are closely connected. Both have hosted food distribution sites, by the same entities, as shown in MDE records:

The two distribution efforts located at the same Taylor Street address were both run by related organizations under the Partners in Nutrition banner. Over time, the two operations shifted to the rival Feeding Our Future network, and eventually, both shifted to the Columbus Avenue location.

According to records held by the state Secretary of State and statements made by the FBI, Southside Child Development Center and Southside Youth LLC are both owned by Mohamoud Warsame. His name appears six times in the FBI search warrant, although neither he nor his organizations are accused of any wrongdoing.

In fact, not one person has been arrested or charged with fraud in the case. Two named individuals have been arrested on passport charges.

The FBI documents that the sites at both addresses were catered by the company Metro Area Catering. Metro was founded in November 2020 at the 2501 Taylor address and according to the FBI, it is controlled by Warsame.

Southside Youth LLC was founded in January 2021. The 2501 Taylor building bears signs for both Southside Youth and the childcare center, among other enterprises at that location.

The building at 2501 Taylor was constructed in 1900. It was purchased in September 2021 for $680,000 by Landmark Realty Group LLC. Landmark was incorporated in May 2021, is located at 2501 Taylor, and appears to be linked to Warsame.

The 2854 Columbus address bears no signage, except for a small note taped to a window by I-Care Home Health Care, another company owned by Warsame.

Neither site is suitable for a large-scale food distribution site. In particular, the Columbus Avenue building has no parking. The street itself is so narrow, with cars parked on both sides of the road, that two vehicles have difficulty passing one another in opposite directions.

The FBI documents that Feeding Our Future took in $2.5 million in revenue from their “Taylor” operation in 2021. At one point, Feeding claimed to have fed 2,000 children all 31 days of the 30-day November 2021.

For its part, Southside Youth took in $500,000 from its “Taylor” operation over just a two-month period in late 2021. At the time, MDE questioned Feeding’s Aimee Bock on the need for separate operations in the same building. Bock replied that each served a different population.

Warsame makes a cameo appearance in another Minneapolis scandal. He is listed as a campaign donor to controversial state Sen. Omar Fateh. Warsame’s $1,000 donation was not among the eleven $1,000 donations associated with Feeding Our Future that were returned by Fateh. Warsame listed his employer as SCDC.