Omar paid thousands by restaurant accused of stealing money intended to feed starving children

Rep. Ilhan Omar and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey are accused of receiving donations from men who stole millions of COVID relief dollars. One of these men also runs a charity founded by a city council member and sits on a city working group.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Rep. Ilhan Omar has partied at and received donations from a business accused by the FBI of stealing millions of COVID relief dollars from children.

Feeding Our Future received $197.9 million in 2021 to provide food to starving Minnesota children impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the FBI recently raided the nonprofit’s headquarters and suggested that little or none of this money was actually spent feeding kids.

Instead, the agency believes the nonprofit conspired with local businesses to falsify records and funnel the money into private accounts. The Pioneer Press has observed that the businesses involved in this scandal tend to be led by “members of the East African diaspora.”

One of these establishments is Safari Restaurant, a Somali eatery located in Minneapolis’s Powderhorn Park neighborhood. Safari has been a focal point of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s engagement with her constituents for years. She’s appeared there numerous times and even hosted her 2018 victory party at the restaurant, the owners of which are now accused of stealing millions.

Specifically, Safari was reimbursed for $15 million it allegedly spent serving meals to hungry children between May and November 2020. The restaurant claims it fed 5,000 children a day, more than the St. Paul public school system.

The FBI doubts this narrative and highlights in a search warrant that Safari-affiliated shell companies purchased items like an $87,000 pickup truck, a million-dollar home in Plymouth and a $2.8 million mansion in Minneapolis after the alleged fraud took place.

The restaurant has also donated thousands to Omar’s campaign since the fraud reportedly transpired.

Public records list Safari among Omar’s donors

Omar is not the only progressive politician who may have received stolen money as donations. The Sahan Journal reports that at least six men named by the FBI as being involved in the scandal donated to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. Two of these are owners of Safari.

A third Frey donor, Abdikadir Mohamud, runs Stigma-Free — a group that was originally incorporated and run by Minneapolis City Council Member Jamal Osman. Stigma-Free also worked with Safari in perpetrating fraud, the FBI claims.

Abdikadir Mohamud was appointed by the mayor to sit on a public safety working group late last year.

Meanwhile, Aimee Bock, the leader of Feeding Our Future, maintains that she is innocent. “I believe that this is an attack on a community,” she said, apparently accusing the FBI of being racist against Somalis. Bock’s home was raided earlier this month by law enforcement officers.