Feeding Our Future: the Salad days are over

The subject of the Department of Justice’s fourth indictment in the Feeding Our Future scandal is an entity called Haji’s Kitchen, run by a man with the last name of Salad.

Although the indictment was announced under the banner of the Feeding Our Future case, it actually involves a separate nonprofit called Partners in Nutrition, d/b/a/ Partners in Quality Care.

Five individuals were included in this indictment. The headline name is Haji O. Salad, owner of Haji’s Kitchen, and accused by the FBI of stealing $16 million (DOJ, page 6, paragraph 18).

Fahad Nur, the principal of The Produce LLC, was also indicted. The Produce LLC is accused of taking $10 million out of the free-food programs and makes a cameo appearance in the Gar Gaar Family Services case, involving yet a third nonprofit network (MDE, page 4).

Sharmarke Issa and his mom were indicted. Issa was twice appointed by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey to head the city’s public housing authority. Issa’s nonprofit, Minnesota’s Somali Community, is accused of taking more than $7 million out of the programs.

Anab A. Awad was the fifth person indicted in the case. Her nonprofit, Multiple Community Services, is accused of taking over $11 from the programs.

The proceeds of the fraud, the FBI alleges, went to the usual assortment of homes, office buildings, and automobiles.

Auto brands included Ford, Dodge, Mercedes, and Range Rover. Millions of dollars were seized from bank accounts held by these individuals.

Some of the locations associated with this group include the following food distribution sites registered with the state Department of Education (MDE).

It’s not clear if all of the above sites actually participated in the program. The FBI also implicates additional sites, beyond those above, but does not list them by name. All of the above sites were registered through the nonprofit sponsor Partners in Nutrition.

Partners was suspended by MDE along with Feeding Our Future back in January. Partners has sued in both state and Federal court for reinstatement. Yesterday, a Federal judge denied their motion for immediate reinstatement, and the two cases drag on.

Partners is seeking to reinstate more than 200 individual locations to the program. Many of the names on the list were associated with Haji’s Kitchen and other defendants named in this and other indictments. So far, MDE is holding firm, citing the fraud allegations made against Partners in Nutrition vendors.