The owner of a popular Twin Cities food truck is asking a Hennepin County judge to prevent two sisters from publicly accusing her of operating a cult.
Bad Rooster owner Soulaire Allerai filed a defamation lawsuit against sisters Kelly Ring Abedi and Angela Marie Hummelgard in July. The story of the alleged food truck cult has since gained attention while Bad Rooster continues making the rounds at local breweries and events to sell fried chicken. Some vendors were contacted by the sisters to no longer do business with Allerai, who has claimed financial losses as a result.
At a virtual hearing Friday afternoon, Allerai's attorney asked for a temporary injunction while the lawsuit is pending and Judge Joseph Klein has taken it under advisement.
Meanwhile recent court filings from the sisters' attorneys reveal others who claim Allerai is allegedly running a cult that they left personally or lost a relative to.
Allerai is the spiritual director at Living Faith Spiritual Community and has more than 100,000 followers on Facebook. She founded the Soulful Journey and a wellness center at a Minnetonka address shared with Living Faith, and she launched Bad Rooster in 2019.
Earlier this summer, the sisters began posting on the food truck's Facebook page and writing reviews about how the business funds a cult to which they lost their relationship with their mother and that they were once members of in the early 2000s.
Living Faith and Bad Rooster teamed up for events starting in 2020. Allerai posted that May on Facebook that due to the pandemic closing of the wellness center, they were going to use food truck funds to cover rent.
The sisters detail in court documents that they would attend a spiritual group where Allerai would channel God, who she called "G." Their mother is still a follower and they haven't had a relationship with her for more than a decade.
Allerai's attorney Steven Liening said that Allerai and the food truck are not responsible for their "inability to get along with" their mother, and their claims that Bad Rooster "tears families apart" are false and causing financial loss to the business.
"Please stop the bleeding," Liening said to the judge, adding that the false accusations are "spreading like wildfire" and reaching so far as the United Kingdom.
Liening said an injunction would also be in the defendants' best interest by limiting "the damage they may be liable for in the long run." No specific financial disclosures detailing a decline in revenue have been filed in court.
Attorneys representing the sisters say that their clients have a right to share their opinions and personal experience with Allerai on social media and in the news. They argued in court Friday that ultimately an injunction would infringe on their First Amendment rights.
"It's simply a matter of free speech ... speaking out against activity a person feels is exploitive or manipulative," said attorney Stacey Sever, who represents Abedi.
Affidavits filed on behalf of Sever and William Cumming, representing Hummelgard, list at least seven other individuals who left Allerai's spiritual groups or say a loved one is still active in the groups and they have strained relationships because of this.
But Allerai's attorney said family issues pre-date the food truck. He noted that Hummelgard told a local television station that she hasn't spoken to her mother since 2011, but Bad Rooster opened in the last three years.
Liening said there is no evidence of any illegal activity such as physical or sexual abuse. He said the sisters cannot hide dishonest conduct behind opinions and continue sharing "outrageous rumors."
"The fact that there's a lot of affidavits doesn't change anything," he said. "There's no allegation of any crime here or any abuse of any kind."