Feeding Our Future: It’s a small world, after all

Connecting more dots between Feeding Our Future defendants and political figures in Minnesota.

Back in March, the U.S. Attorney announced the latest batch of Feeding Our Future indictments. The batch included Ayan Abukar, Defendant No. 58 in the scandal.

Ms. Abukar had been profiled six months earlier, by MN Reformer, under the headline,

Prominent Bloomington woman’s nonprofit claimed to feed 6,400 children per day

One food distribution address doesn’t exist

The nonprofit is Action for East African People (AFEAP), founded by Abukar in 2017, which registered nine distribution sites under the free-food Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) around the metro area.

Not all of the sites ended up being active in the food program. AFEAP operated distribution sites under the sponsorship of both the nonprofits Feeding Our Future and Partners in Nutrition. In total, Abukar is accused of taking $5.8 million from the free-food program, claiming to have served some 3 million meals.

Abukar is considered “prominent” because she was the recipient of a refugee entrepreneurship award in 2021 from the state Department of Human Services (DHS).

AFEAP’s Facebook page is still active, although the most recent post dates from July 2021 and refers to Abukar’s receiving that award from DHS. Here’s a screen shot of that video story on Facebook. The stars came out to celebrate,

That Abukar received an award, much less one for entrepreneurship, from DHS is doubly ironic, as the Reformer reported in October 2022,

She won the award even though DHS revoked her child care license in 2019 for “providing false and misleading information and failure to comply with licensing laws and rules” over the course of years.

Regardless of the earlier license revocation, DHS has continued to pay out modest amounts of money to AFEAP in the past two years (about $2,100). The state Department of Health has paid out considerably more to AFEAP, doling out over $43,000 to the nonprofit in 2021.

In the indictment against Abukar, the U.S. Department of Justice mentions another Abukar entity involved in the alleged scheme, ActionCare, a community clinic based in Bloomington (indictment beginning page 13, paragraphs 52 and 55). As it happens, the mailing address for AFEAP is at the ActionCare site in a Bloomington shopping center,

The Department of Justice claims that Abukar worked with an unindicted co-conspirator who owned the food vendor MN Food Grocery LLC (paragraph 34). That corporate entity is owned by an individual who shares a home with Abukar in Bloomington. MN Food was incorporated in March 2021.

The indictment claims that the AFEAP fraud took place from October 2020 until early 2022 (paragraph 19).

Notable on the list of items subject to forfeiture are a 37-acre parcel in Lakeville and a Magnus 212 Fusion single-engine aircraft.

But back to the video of the DHS award presentation in July 2021.

The auto-generated translation of the video’s caption from Somali into English includes a reference to Feeding Our Future Defendant No. 49,

Deeq Darajo is the stage name of local media personality Mohamed Muse Noor and Defendant No. 49 in the case. His Xogmaal Media Group is at the center of a separate indictment in the case issued back in October 2022.

Darajo also covered the opening of the ActionCare clinic back in 2019,

You will recall that Darajo/Noor was arrested in September 2022 at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, en route to Istanbul, Turkey.

The FBI claims that Xogmaal took nearly $500,000 out of the free-food program (paragraph 38).

The Xogmaal Media Group nonprofit was formed by Noor in November 2020. The Oakland Avenue S address in Minneapolis for Xogmaal is in the same multi-tenant office building where AFEAP and yet another unrelated nonprofit operated free-food distribution sites.

Xogmaal the nonprofit, however, had its food distribution site located across the parking lot at an adjacent multi-tenant office building which is home to Xogmaal’s for-profit entity. This other building has a Park Avenue S address.

The Oakland Avenue building can be seen through the archway on the right of the above photo. Xogmaal claimed to serve two meals to 1,500 children per day, every day for April 2021 (paragraph 34) at 2222 Park Avenue.

Sade Hashi, Defendant No. 59 in the Feeding Our Future case, owned the food businesses Safari Express (unrelated to Safari Restaurant) and Great Lakes.

Coincidentally, Hashi’s Great Lakes served as a food vendor to a different, unrelated food distribution effort located at that same Park Avenue office address,

The indictment against Hashi accuses him of taking $5.7 million out of the program (paragraph 22) and specifically mentions his Park Ave./Oakland Ave. operation (paragraph 25).

You will recall that Hashi is a fugitive from justice. Hashi is recorded as having made a $625 campaign contribution to state Rep. Hodan Hassan in July 2020. Hashi is also listed as having made a $500 contribution to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar in March 2021.

Back to Darajo/Noor. Undaunted by his legal troubles, he has resumed his media activities on his personal Facebook page and Xogmaal’s. Among the stories he’s covering are the independent campaign of Nasri Warsame for the Minneapolis Ward 10 city council seat. Noor was live last night at the scene of Warsame’s fundraiser event on Lake Street.

It all circles back on itself.