Feeding Our Future: Digging deeper into the Safari network of nonprofits

It’s been more than four months since the FBI raids on Feeding Our Future and related organizations. To date only a single person involved has been arrested, and that was on a charge of passport fraud.

Previously, we’ve covered the Safari Restaurant story and their close connections to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and other Minneapolis-based politicians. A recent visit to the restaurant confirms that it is permanently closed.

In 2020, Safari Restaurant operated its own free-food distribution site under the sponsorship of Feeding our Future at its central Minneapolis outlet, claiming to serve up to 5,000 children per day. The program was operated under the federal Summer Food Service Program, overseen locally by the state Department of Education (MDE).

In the autumn of 2020, MDE determined that for-profit restaurants could no longer host free-food distribution sites. At that point, Safari switched from being a distribution center to a vendor to other sites across the state.

The FBI claims that little of the money Safari received from May 2020 to November 2021 was used to buy food (paragraph 84, page 25, FBI search warrant No. 1).

For summer 2021, the following is a list of locations for which Safari Restaurant is the caterer of record, under the auspices of Feeding Our Future:

FBI search warrant No. 1 discusses the activities of ASA Limited (p. 19), Olive Management (p. 20) and Stigma Free (p. 28). None of the other entities are discussed in the FBI search warrant. Joseph’s Pointe is an apartment complex.

Somali American Faribault Education (SAFE) may seem an odd choice to serve as the nonprofit host for your flagship location. SAFE was founded in 2009 and is headed by Mohamed Hussein, who lists a Willow Street address in Faribault. SAFE is also registered as having a smaller operation under Feeding Our Future in the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

The IRS revoked SAFE’s nonprofit status in 2012 for failure to file required Form 990 tax returns. Nonprofit status was reinstated in 2015, only to be revoked again in 2020. The IRS reinstated the nonprofit a second time last year.

The only tax return on file for SAFE was submitted for 2016. The nonprofit showed revenue of less than $50,000 that year. The entity does not appear to be registered with the state Attorney General’s office.

Coincidences abound. Another entity using that Willow Street mailing address is the Lido Restaurant in Faribault. The owner of record for Lido is Lul Bashir Ali of Faribault and the company was incorporated in April 2020.

Lido Restaurant was a Feeding Our Future distribution site in the summer of 2020, with a listed capacity of 1,500 children per day. MDE attempted to prematurely terminate the participation of Lido, Safari, and four other restaurants in October 2020.

Ali owns another company in Faribault, named MHLA Holdings, incorporated in May 2021. Property records on file in Rice County show that MHLA Holdings owns three properties in Faribault, including the Willow Street address used by SAFE and Lido. All three properties were purchased in 2021, for a cumulative value of $827,000.

Horn of Africa Development and Education Foundation was incorporated in 2009.

Worthy Purpose is a Rochester nonprofit founded in November 2020. It does not appear to be registered with the state Attorney General’s office.

Youth Wisdom, Inc. was incorporated in September 2020. It does not appear to be registered with the state Attorney General’s office.

Lead The Way appears to have been incorporated in July 2020. It does not appear to be registered with the state Attorney General’s office.

There seems to be a recurring pattern here.