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MN Education Department suing Feeding our Future for $583k in lawyer fees

In response, Feeding our Future's attorney blames MDE's 'misconduct and mismanagement' of the federally-funded food programs.
Credit: KARE 11
Feeding Our Future's website

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Education has filed a lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court against Feeding our Future and the nonprofit's co-founder and former executive director Aimee Bock, asking a judge to force them to pay MDE $583,915 in lawyer fees incurred from what the lawsuit describes as "baseless (but sensationalist) accusations of racial bias."

Feeding our Future has been shut down, and 50 people have been indicted in what U.S. Attorney Andy Luger described as the nation's largest case of pandemic fraud. Criminal indictments alleged that $250 million in federal meal program funds was swindled, with Feeding our Future at the center of the scheme.

Minnesota authorities have maintained that they were unable to stop the fraud sooner because Feeding our Future filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education in Nov. 2020, deploying "a barrage of frivolous litigation tactics at strategic intervals to frustrate MDE's oversight," according to the suit.

In response to the filing served in December and made public this month, Feeding our Future's attorney Jennifer Urban writes that the nonprofit's 2020 lawsuit had merit, evidenced by Judge John Guthmann holding MDE in contempt and ordering payments and sanctions.

"MDE cannot seek to hold [Feeding our Future] accountable for its own misconduct and mismanagement of the federally funded [Child and Adult Care Food Programs and Summer Food Service Programs]. In an attempt to shift blame and deflect from its own misconduct, MDE is now seeking an award of attorneys’ fees and costs from FOF -- even though MDE is fully aware that FOF does not have any funds with which to pay its demand," Urban wrote in Feeding our Future's answer to the complaint. 

Urban is representing Feeding our Future but not Aimee Bock.

In a new revelation in the lawsuit, MDE claims that on Jan. 12, 2022, eight days before the FBI raids of Feeding our Future's offices and meal sites was made public, the nonprofit "informed MDE that it would seek damages in the sham lawsuit of $50 to $60 million dollars and that Feeding our Future would require payment of 'over seven figures' to settle."

Then, within hours of the FBI executing search warrants on Jan. 20, 2022, "Feeding our Future asked to dismiss its frivolous, abusive lawsuit," MDE's complaint states.

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