Feeding Our Future: the JigJiga is up

In putting together the September indictments of the 49 individuals charged so far in the Feeding Our Future scandal, the Department of Justice went well beyond the cast of characters introduced in the three search warrants made public back in January.

Case in point is the indictment of three people centered around Lake Street Kitchen and the JigJiga Business Center. The businesses are located at 1516 E. Lake Street in Minneapolis.

Three people were included in this indictment: Liban Y. Alishire, Ahmed Y. Ali, and Khadan J. Adan. The FBI alleges that the fraud perpetrated by this group was centered around Alishire’s nonprofit, Community Enhancement Services. The nonprofit was located in the building pictured above, at the JigJiga Business Center. Adan owns several other businesses at the same address, including the JigJiga Event Center, JigJiga Furniture Outlet, and Lakes Adult Day Care. Ali owns a company called Ace Distribution Services.

JigJiga Event Center is a banquet hall.

JigJiga is a city in Ethiopia. It is the capital city of that nation’s Somali Region.

The three together owned the Lake Street Kitchen located at the business center. The three together own the event center.

The adult day care center (discussed below) is jointly owned by Alishire and Adan.

The FBI alleges that the three stole $1.6 million from the Federal free-food programs through the nonprofit sponsor Feeding Our Future. The FBI alleges that some of the proceeds went toward the purchase of a Ford pickup, a boat, and real estate in Kenya.

But beyond the alleged fraud, this Lake Street address also hosts a number of coincidences.

1516 E. Lake Street and the building next door, 1518, are a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity financed by the state’s Department of Human Services (DHS). In a little over five years, businesses in the two buildings (shown above) have taken in nearly $15 million from DHS. To be clear, there is no evidence that these businesses have any connection to Feeding Our Future or to the school lunch fraud.

Of that amount, the adult day care owned by Alishire and Adan has taken in nearly $1.6 million over its existence.