A new report indicates the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA) in Minnesota is now embroiled in a potentially questionable funding matter involving Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports the Muslim American Society (MAS) in Minnesota paid for Ellison's trip to Mecca in Saudi Arabia the end of last year.
The Star-Tribune story highlights how state-paid rent money for TIZA, at least until 2007, went to the MAS-MN Holding Corporation, an affiliate organization of MAS-MN and the owner of the property where TIZA is located. The holding company then transferred those funds to MAS-MN. This arrangement raises questions about the possibility of Minnesota public funds being used to pay for Ellison's supposedly private trip to Mecca. Ellison, TIZA and MAS-MN deny this.
Curiously, a review of available IRS nonprofit organization tax returns (Forms 990) for the MAS-MN Property Holding Corporation for 2005, 2006 and 2007 revealed the holding company claimed an affiliation with MAS-MN, but made no statement of affiliation with any other organization, including TIZA. A review of the one available TIZA Form 990, from 2002, revealed it claimed no affiliation with any other organization.
Minnesota state records reflect the original corporate filing date for the MAS-MN Property Holding Corporation was April 3, 2003, before the time period covered by the 2002 TIZA 990, though both entities identify Asad Zaman, the purported TIZA principal, as an official on their tax documents. The 2002 TIZA 990 document was signed January 10, 2004 by Asad Zaman.
Minnesota corporate records reveal two listings for the Muslim American Society. One for MAS and one for MAS-MN. The MAS listing identifies an original filing date as June 14, 2002 and lists "Hesham Hussein" as the corporate agent with an address in Hugo, Minnesota. The MAS-MN corporate records reflect an original filing date of January 29, 2003 with its address being the same as TIZA, in Inver Grove Heights. No agent name is provided. The 2002 TIZA 990, in the section identifying officials, identifies one "Hesham Hussein" as the treasurer, and lists for him the same Hugo, MN address as listed in the 2002 corporate filing for MAS.
TIZA Minnesota corporate records reveal an original filing date of January 29, 2003 (same date as for MAS-MN) and no agent is identified. Its address the same Inver Grove Heights address listed for MAS-MN, and that was owned by the MAS-MN Property Holding Corporation.
These records indicate that TIZA shared officials (Zaman and Hussein) and an address with MAS, MAS-MN and the MAS-MN Property Holding Corporation.
Yet TIZA was not identified by the MAS-MN Property Holding Corporation as an affiliate organization on its IRS tax returns. Further, TIZA did not identify MAS (or any other entity) as an affiliate organization on its IRS tax return.
Clerical oversights or deception? These matters deserve further inquiry.