Judge Says Walz Claim About $250M Food Program Scandal is False
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) The Minnesota Judicial Branch of Government has issued a highly unusual statement correcting media reports and statements by Governor Tim Walz.
The statement addresses the "Feeding Our Future" fraud scandal and reports in the media and statements made by the governor concerning a ruling issued by Ramsey Judge John Guthmann in a lawsuit filed by the Feeding Our Future organization against the state. In response to criticism over the alleged theft of $250 million from a child nutrition program that provided meals to children during the pandemic, Governor Walz defended his administration's actions Thursday by saying the Minnesota Department of Education tried to halt payments to the Feeding Our Future group after it detected strong suspicions of fraud but the judge ordered the department to resume the payments and ordered the state agency to pay sanctions. The statement issued by the Judicial Branch on Friday contends Judge Guthmann "never ordered the Department of Education to resume payments to FOF" in April 2021 or at any other time.
The statement says Feeding Our Future had requested such an order, but before the court could rule, "the parties reached an agreement in which the Department of Education agreed to handle these federally regulated site applications reasonably promptly" and a consent order approving the settlement was issued in December 2020.
The Judicial Branch statement goes on to say that the Star Tribune reported in February of this year on the FBI investigation into Feeding Our Future that the judge issued a ruling in April 21 that ordered the Department of Education to resume payments to FOF. A statement says the newspaper's report has been "repeated or paraphrased" by many other media outlets and was reiterated by the State Education Commissioner during testimony to the State. Governor Tim Walz Also Made the same claim during a press conference on Thursday. The statement contends the governor's claim is false.