Feeding Our Future: 10 more indicted in scandal
Andy Luger, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, announced 10 more defendants were indicted this morning in the Feeding Our Future scandal. The total charged in the case…
The scandal-prone state senator has emerged in 2023 more powerful than ever.
Minnesota state Sen. Omar Fateh (DFL-Minneapolis) survived a series of scandals in 2022 to win reelection in November to represent Senate District 62 with more than 90 percent of the vote.
Now part of the Democrats’ one-seat majority (34-33), the second-term senator chairs the prestigious Higher Education Committee.
Back in January 2022, Fateh found himself involved in the Feeding Our Future scandal, when it was revealed that a number of his big-dollar campaign donors had been named in the FBI search warrants made public that month.
In the end, Fateh returned 11 donations, totaling $11,000. Fateh went beyond the names named the FBI search warrants “out of an abundance of caution.” A profile of the Omar Fateh 11 can be found here. Among the 11 would be found no less than seven eventual Feeding Our Future defendants, including defendant Nos. 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 24 and 25.
At the time the donations were returned, it was reported that Fateh had personally intervened with state officials in support of Feeding Our Future.
In early May, it came out that Fateh was the recipient of some unreported in-kind help from the Minnesota nonprofit Somali TV. Fateh would later amend his campaign finance reports to (sort of) account for the value of the promotional videos created on his behalf. He claims to have paid $1,000 using CashApp.
A week later, Fateh’s brother-in-law, Muse Mohamed, was convicted in federal court on perjury charges. The charges arose from Mohamed’s mishandling of absentee ballots on behalf of Fateh’s 2020 campaign for the state senate, and the mishandling occurred at Fateh’s campaign headquarters on Lake Street in Minneapolis.
At the brother-in-law’s federal trial, it came out that Fateh’s 2020 campaign operation was housed within an operating adult daycare business owned by Open Arms Corp. To date, Fateh has not updated his campaign filings to record any expense associated with the use of this space or any in-kind contribution from the business owners.
In late May, seven of his senate colleagues filed an ethics complaint against Fateh. At the time, it was thought that the ethics committee process, as it played out over the summer, could have endangered Fateh’s bid for re-election in the August 9 primary. He still sailed through.
Although the later November general election would be a blowout for Fateh, his August primary battle would prove to be much closer, with Fateh prevailing over his Democratic rival by a 60%-40% margin.
On the night of Fateh’s primary win, Minneapolis city council member Jason Chavez tweeted out a victory post showing Fateh celebrating with some of his supporters.
Fateh’s victory night celebration occurred at the JigJiga event center on Lake Street in Minneapolis. His campaign recorded an expense of $1,200 on August 9, 2022, for the event.
JigJiga’s founder is Liban Alishire, pictured above with Sen. Fateh in an undated photo. Alishire is defendant No. 36 in the Feeding Our Future case, and the sixth person convicted so far.
The August 9 primary victory also produced a victory for Fateh’s campaign staff. The state senator generously paid out $300 bonuses to each of his thirteen (13) paid campaign staffers.
Omar Fateh was not the only August 9 winner in the family. His sister-in-law (and convicted perjurer Muse Mohamed’s sister) Zaynab Mohamed won the Democratic primary in the adjacent 63rd senate district. She prevailed on August 9 by a 67%-33% margin and went on to win in November, receiving more than 85 percent of the vote.
As a freshman senator, Zaynab has gone on to win early fame as the lead senate author of HF4, the bill to provide drivers licenses to illegal aliens.
In December, the Minnesota Reformer ran an in-depth profile of the Open Arms adult day care center, the erstwhile campaign headquarters for Sen. Fateh. The Reformer reported that,
Since April 2016, the state [Dept. of Human Services (DHS)] has paid Open Arms almost $2.3 million to provide those services, along with transportation services, according to DHS. Open Arms was also paid $2.2 million by managed care organizations via DHS contracts, for a total of $4.5 million.
The Reformer broke the news that Open Arms had its license temporarily suspended in December by DHS as the result of an unannounced inspection that uncovered 13 violations.
Last week, DHS restored Open Arms’ license, on a conditional basis. It’s not clear whether the day care will resume operations. Here is a photo of the building taken this morning:
Here is the tropical mural in better days,
Some inside views of the facility:
The facility is licensed to serve up to 43 clients. Inevitably, Open Arms adult day care was also a participant in the state’s free-food program, under the sponsorship of the suspended nonprofit Partners in Nutrition. The facility claimed the capacity to serve up to 86 meals per day, comprising both breakfast and lunch for each client.
It’s a small world, after all.
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