In free lunch fraud: A media note

Today’s Star Tribune features a profile of Bock, the indicted mastermind of the free lunch fraud that we have been covering since this past January. The profile draws heavily on the reporters’ interview of her in the immediate aftermath of the FBI raids that made the scandal public. The only really new element is its mention of my friend Abdi Nur at the top of the story:

Aimee Bock’s organization was keeping a low profile as it handled millions in government money when the video appeared on Facebook in January.

It purportedly showed one of Bock’s employees receiving an astonishing wedding present: an ornamental cart, laden with so much gold that guests gathered around to see it up close.

Abdihakim Nur, a Somali activist and blogger who shot the video, said he heard the gold came from food vendors who were getting rich off the money they collected through Bock’s nonprofit, Feeding Our Future.

Nur was appalled, and his video created a stir in the Somali community.

“We cannot close our eyes to such corruption which will put our entire community’s name in the news as fraudsters and criminals when we only have a few bad apples,” Nur posted.

We quoted Abdi’s Facebook post and embedded the cited video here on February 2. The Star Tribune reports on it now, nearly eight months later. It’s almost funny.

In 2016 Abdi was my first Somali source on Ilhan Omar’s marriage to her brother. Since then we have become good friends and he has helped me deepen my knowledge of the Omar story through his contacts in the community. The Daily Mail caught up with Abdi and his knowledge of Omar’s marriage to her brother in this 2020 story. If you get your news from the Star Tribune, it might come as something of a shock.

Abdi is the person who first brought Guhaad Hashi to my attention. Hashi has served as one of Omar’s enforcers in the Somali community. He is also one of the 48 defendants whose indictment was unsealed in the Feeding Our Future fraud last week. Will the circle be unbroken?

Now that the Star Tribune has happened on to Abdi, perhaps they can follow up on the story of Omar’s marriage to her brother. It’s not too late and it’s quite a story. In the upper reaches of American politics, at least, there’s never been anything quite like it.

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