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A St. Paul nonprofit that was cut off from the meals programs at the center of the massive Feeding Our Future fraud scheme is dropping its legal fight to rejoin the programs.

Partners in Nutrition on Wednesday filed to dismiss its lawsuit against the state after the Minnesota Department of Education terminated the nonprofit from the meal programs in May. The organization, which operates as Partners in Quality Care and was sponsoring more than 200 food distribution sites, had its funding cut off in January when the FBI investigation was revealed.

No one at Partners in Nutrition has been criminally charged. Leaders of the nonprofit and its attorney Mark Weinhardt didn't return messages Thursday. In court documents, Weinhardt has said that the organization has never been accused of wrongdoing and there's no evidence it knowingly submitted a fraudulent claim.

Partners in Nutrition was among the largest sponsors of the summer and school year meals programs meant to feed needy children in Minnesota, alongside Feeding Our Future, the nonprofit at the center of the fraud scheme. Prosecutors say it's the largest pandemic-related fraud in the country.

The Minnesota Department of Education oversees U.S. Department of Agriculture funding to the state's schools, nonprofits and community organizations for providing snacks and meals to kids in need after school or during the summer. While much of the investigation focused on Feeding Our Future, the Education Department also suspended payments to Partners in Nutrition when FBI search warrants named Partners as a sponsor to food programs the FBI was investigating.

Partners argued that the Education Department rushed to cut its reimbursement payments. An appeals panel at the Education Department agreed in May that the nonprofit hadn't been given a chance to fix any perceived problems. But then later that month, the Education Department terminated Partners from the program, citing a May 20 unsealed search warrant that tied Partners and one of its board members to the fraud investigation.

Partners sued the state in September, claiming the Education Department illegally forced them to suspend operations and was punishing the organization "administratively for crimes it did not commit." In October, a federal judge denied Partners' request to rejoin the meals program. An Education Department review panel separately upheld the termination decision Oct. 14.

Partners is still challenging a separate action at the Minnesota Court of Appeals by the Education Department to deny most of Partners' subcontractors' earlier reimbursement claims.

Partners in Nutrition was started in 2015 by Christine Twait and Aimee Bock to sponsor food distribution sites, overseeing the paperwork to get federal reimbursements. Bock later left to start Feeding Our Future and has been charged in the fraud case, accused of being the leader of the alleged scheme. She pleaded not guilty. Twait is no longer with Partners.

Both Partners and Feeding Our Future grew significantly during the pandemic, when schools were closed because of the virus and oversight measures were loosened — including the lifting of in-person monitoring of food sites.

In 2019, Partners in Nutrition received $5.6 million. In 2021, the organization and its sites reported serving more than 80 million meals, receiving more than $179 million in federal reimbursements, according to court documents filed in September when more than 40 people were charged in the fraud scheme.

In court documents, prosecutors alleged that Partners — which was unnamed and referred to as "Sponsor A" — had ties to the fraud through a board member and worked with sites that inflated the number of meals they claimed to serve.

"Most of the sites operating under the sponsorship of Sponsor A fraudulently inflated their claims in order to appear that they were providing more food to children than was true," prosecutors wrote in indictments.

The Education Department contends that the St. Paul organization was responsible for distributing more than $57 million to organizations that misspent the money instead of buying food for needy kids during the pandemic.