Minnetonka food truck co-owner sues two sisters over cult accusations

The co-owner of a popular Minnetonka food truck serving up fried chicken throughout the Twin Cities filed a defamation lawsuit this week against two sisters who accused the business of being associated with a cult, causing them losses in revenue.

Soulaire Allerai, co-owner of Bad Rooster, seeks more than $200,000 in damages for the claims made this month on Facebook by Angela Marie Hummelgard of Cottage Grove and Kelly Ring Abedi, of Reisterstown, Md. The lawsuit claims the sisters also called breweries and other establishments, which then canceled planned dates to host the food truck.

Bad Rooster opened in 2019 and has over 5,000 followers on Facebook, where Abedi posted the cult claims, others followed echoing the accusations in the business’s reviews and online comments.

Allerai is the spiritual director and lead minister with Living Faith Spiritual Community, founded in 2003 in Minnetonka. The nonprofit organization partnered with Bad Rooster in 2020 to collect donations for local shelters. She also founded the Soulful Journey in 2005 and a Wellness Center, located at the same Minnetonka address. She hosts a spirituality podcast and has over 100,000 followers on Facebook.

Allerai and her co-owners shared a video on Facebook addressing what they call an attack on their business and reputation.

“I sit and cry and don’t understand why complete strangers jump on a bandwagon and you know nothing about what’s being said,” Allerai said in the July 16 video.

Bad Rooster co-owner Soulmar Allerai — who is not related to Soulaire Allerai but said he made the choice to legally change his name to match his business partner’s, said in a phone interview that he’s “not part of” Living Faith but did volunteer work with it.

Abedi and her Minneapolis attorney, William Cumming, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Abedi’s post, which sparked the lawsuit and backlash against Bad Rooster, has been shared 250 times. She was asked to remove the post, but she refused to do so, saying in the post that “we have only shared our experience and we have made no false claims.”

The post said that the spiritual group “functions like a cult… Soulaire and has convinced a group of people she ‘channels’ the spirit of God. She charges her followers lots of money to speak to ‘God’ and she has vividly torn” families apart.”

She said that her and Hummelgard’s mother is a devout follower of Soulaire Allerai and claimed that her mother changed her name and worked for the food truck.

“This has been our (family’s) heartbreaking journey over the course of nearly 15 years. Our goal remains to inform the public of the group behind the truck so they can make informed choices about where they spend their money.”

The lengthy post states that at least four other families have come forward with similar stories of “manipulation and emotional, mental, and financial abuse at the hands of Soulaire.”

She made the post when she saw Bad Rooster post about an unexpected death and Abedi sought to confirm it wasn’t her mother.

Abedi wrote that in messages with Bad Rooster, she was told that it wasn’t her mother and she was asked by the business to cease and desist.

Soulmar Allerai denied Abedi’s mom is an employee and never has been.

“The food truck has no association to these women,” he said. “This has been just really unfortunate…It’s very scary to see how much damage can be done in such a short period of time… I honestly don’t know where these rumors came to be.”

Soulmar Allerai said since the “unprovoked” online attacks, Bad Rooster has lost 50% of his business. That loss in revenue is why they filed a lawsuit to protect Bad Rooster.

He added that the “truth will come out in court.”

Steven Liening, an Apple Valley attorney representing Soulaire Allerai and the business, said in a phone interview Wednesday that the situation his client is confronted with is indicative of “what is going on in this country right now with online disinformation.”

“People get on the internet rant they feel free to say whatever pops in their head with no consequence,” he said. “When someone posts something online that’s blatantly false, other people see it and start acting on it.”

Beyond posting on various Facebook pages, Abdi tagged local news outlets and businesses to warn them to not associate with Bad Rooster because it’s alleged connection to a cult.

The lawsuit denies that Bad Rooster is associated with or operated a cult and demands a jury trial.

In 2021 Bad Rooster was elected the best food truck in the Minnesota’s Best is a Star Tribune Readers’ Choice Award program, which is not affiliated with the newsroom.