Feeding Our Future wins awards!

Amazingly, state and local governments continue to promote people and places linked to the free-food scandal.

Lots of names have come up during the ongoing Feeding Our Future trial underway in Federal court in Minneapolis. The prosecutor’s star witness, former Feeding Our Future insider Hadith Ahmed, was on the stand last week.

Ahmed himself is a defendant (No. 46) and has filed Guilty Plea No. 2 in the case. During his multi-day stint on the stand, the story of how Ahmed came to leave the employ of Feeding Our Future was revealed. Ahmed testified that he was fired by Aimee Bock, Feeding Our Future co-founder and CEO and Defendant No. 1 in the case.

As reported by Deena Winter of Minnesota Reformer,

Ahmed testified that he was fired by Bock after he refused to help a prominent Bloomington woman, Ayan Abukarget retroactive approval of another half dozen sites she claimed she’d been operating.

“(Abukar) said everyone is doing the same thing, why won’t you help me?” Ahmed testified.

The state Department of Human Services awarded Abukar with an “outstanding refugee” entrepreneurship award in 2021, as her nonprofit was claiming to feed 6,400 children per day, multiple times per day, in the child nutrition program. She is charged with bribery and money laundering but is not part of the group on trial this week.

Abukar is Defendant No. 58 in the case and was the subject of a separate indictment handed down in March 2023. According to the indictment (p. 8, paragraph 28), Abukar began participating in the free-food scam in October 2020 and continued throughout calendar year 2021. The program in question is administered by the state’s Department of Education (MDE).

The Reformer mentions Abukar receiving an award from a different state agency (DHS) in 2021. Here is a reference to the award on the Facebook page of Abukar’s nonprofit, Action for East African People (AFEAP),

As you can see, the award was presented by no less than state Gov. Tim Walz himself, in July 2021, exactly in the middle of the free-food scam.

Remarkably (but not surprisingly), Abukar’s award is still being celebrated on the DHS website. If you believe the U.S. Attorney, her contribution to business was largely fraudulent.

Coincidentally, a parcel of land owned by Abukar’s family is tied to a controversial residential development proposed for Lakeville.

Another individual who is on trial is Mukhtar Shariff (No. 21), also, coincidentally of Bloomington. Shariff is the founder of the Afrique Hospitality Group, located in an otherwise non-descript office/warehouse complex near the Mall of America.

In the indictment of Shariff and his co-defendants, Afrique is described by prosecutors “as a shell company” (p. 29, paragraph 128). The indictment (p. 38, paragraph 161) directly accuses Shariff of using ill-gotten gains “to build an event center space in Bloomington.”

Despite Shariff’s imminent trial date, the January 2024 opening of his new events center in Bloomington was officially celebrated by the City of Bloomington in a press release. The location on American Boulevard has since been renamed Zawadi. The City posted a three-minute video tour of the center on the City’s official YouTube page.

The center now operates under the name “Zawadi,” which Google translates as “gift” in English. If you believe Federal prosecutors, with funds used to build out the facility were unwittingly provided by taxpayers.

The coffee shop located within the center goes by the brand name Nomadic Cafe.

It’s not clear what relationship, if any, Shariff has to the current facility. Shariff did, coincidentally, incorporate three business entities over the years (no longer active) under the name “Nomadic.” Further, a document filed by prosecutors in the current trial indicates that “Nomadic Hustle” was Shariff’s street name.

Under the new name Zawadi, the City held their 2024 “state of the city” event last month at the Afrique location.

No word on whether Shariff himself was able to attend this landmark event.