MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Soulaire Allerai, co-owner of the popular Bad Rooster food truck and leader of Soulful Journey, responded to a Sunday night FOX 9 Investigators story in a Facebook post Tuesday, saying the allegations are "solely designed to harm me and Bad Rooster because of the success and good will we have earned."
The statement once again threatens her accusers with legal action.
"Each and every instance of defamation and other tortious acts are being tracked and identified, and these individuals will be held accountable for the reputation and financial damage they have caused," the statement said.
The statement did not offer any specifics.
Allerai, formerly known as Lynn Young, along with Bad Rooster, filed a defamation and civil conspiracy lawsuit last month in Hennepin County Court, accusing two sisters of falsely claiming the food truck financially supports a cult.
In the lawsuit, Allerai claims Bad Rooster brings in up to $9,000 a day selling spicy wings and chicken.
The sisters, Kelly Abedi and Angela Hummelgard, told the FOX 9 Investigators Sunday night they have rarely communicated with their mother, Mary Ring, since she joined Soulful Journey and began following Allerai 15 years ago.
Like other followers of Allerai, their mother legally changed her name this year to Cianna Lajoie.
In the story Sunday night, the FOX 9 Investigators talked to a half-dozen other estranged family members and former followers of Allerai, who shared remarkably similar stories about her activities over the last 15 years.
Soulaire Allerai (FOX 9)
In addition to Bad Rooster, Allerai runs the Soulful Journey Wellness Center in Minnetonka, which houses several businesses operated by her followers, as well as a 501c3 non-profit, Living Faith Spiritual Community.
Former followers said Allerai would channel spirits from a parallel dimension, including one known a "G."
They were also told of a parallel dimension, called "The 99," where her followers had spirit identities with other names, former followers said.
The FOX 9 Investigators have identified 15 name changes associated with the group.
The statement from Allerai doesn’t offer any specifics, but said, "the story and the people interviewed not only completely misrepresent my spiritual beliefs and practices, they seem to take issue with it because it’s ‘different,’" Allerai said.
Allerai described the story as "click bait," and said her accusers are trying to "find a scapegoat for their own problems."
"Many people drawn to the work we do at Soulful Journey come from toxic families. I am not a cult leader, and I do not brainwash people. Those are lies. I teach people to develop healthy relationships. We hope and encourage all these families to form meaningful, lasting and healthy bonds with each other," Allerai said.
Many of the former followers told the FOX 9 Investigators they joined the group during transitional periods in their life, after a divorce, marital problems, or when struggling with addiction issues.
Family members admitted to difficulties in relationships, but said they believe Allerai told their loved ones to cut them out of their lives in order for her to maintain control.
It is the aspect that troubled an expert on cults the most.
"What concerns me when it gets cult-like is there’s a totalistic takeover of the person’s life," said David Clark, who has been researching and studying cults for four decades.
"This is the number one encounter you notice with families that run into trouble with this; people get cut off," Clark said.
The statement Allerai posted on Facebook is similar to a partial statement given to the FOX 9 Investigators prior to the story by Stacy Bettison, an attorney who brands herself as a crisis manager, but prefers to be called a spokesperson for the group.
Most of those commenting on Bad Rooster’s Facebook post seem unconcerned about the allegations.
"Best cluckin’ chicken in town," said one fan.
The full statement from Allerai, was posted on Bad Rooster’s Facebook page Tuesday afternoon:
"Two days ago, a television news story aired suggesting that I am a cult leader and brainwash people. I want to make three important points:
FIRST, the personal attacks and accusations made in the story are patently false. These are the same allegations that were made on Facebook recently and the cause for our defamation lawsuit. They are solely designed to harm me and Bad Rooster because of the success and goodwill we have earned. This story only provides a further basis for our lawsuit. Each and every instance of defamation and other tortious acts are being tracked and identified, and these individuals will be held accountable for the reputation and financial damage they have caused.
SECOND, the news story is not journalism⸺it is click-bait. It is a sensationalist story that is being used to air the personal problems that existed well before they, or their individual family members, came to Soulful Journey. Additionally, this story and the people interviewed not only completely misrepresent my spiritual beliefs and practices, they seem to take issue with it because it’s "different." This country was founded on religious dissent, and simply because my beliefs are something other than the norm does not mean anybody has been mistreated or something untoward happens in this work.
THIRD, the individuals who insist on spreading lies about me are trying to find a scapegoat for their own problems. Many people drawn to the work we do at Soulful Journey come from toxic families. I am not a cult leader, and I do not brainwash people. Those are lies. I teach people to develop healthy relationships. We hope and encourage all these families to form meaningful, lasting and healthy bonds with each other. The people who take classes at Soulful Journey decide whether to talk to their families⸺or not. Their decisions have nothing to do with me or the services Soulful Journey provides.
FINALLY, I and Bad Rooster want to thank all the people who have supported us, our food, and our community involvement over the years. We love making beautiful food for you. We love supporting our communities with the proceeds that come from this food. And we love being a part of this community."