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Entries in Central Asian Institute (1)

Tuesday
Apr192011

'Three Cups of Tea' Charity Investigated by Montana AG

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(HELENA, Mont.) -- Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson's charity will be investigated after questions were raised about how it managed its financial affairs, the Montana state attorney general said Tuesday.

Mortenson's book and his Bozeman, Mont.-based Central Asian Institute were the focus of a segment on CBS News' 60 Minutes Sunday that raised allegations that he fabricated parts of the best-selling memoir and overstated his humanitarian achievements.

The 60 Minutes segment also alleged that the Central Asian Institute took credit for building schools that didn't actually exist or were built by others, and that it spent more money on self-promotion than on humanitarian efforts.

Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock said Tuesday that he would investigate the issues raised by the report.

"I've been in contact with attorneys for the Institute and they have pledged their full cooperation in addressing our concerns," Bullock said. "While looking into this issue, my office will not jump to any conclusions -- but we have a responsibility to make sure charitable assets are used for their intended purposes."

Mortenson's publisher said Monday that it also wants to review 60 Minutes' allegations that a key section of the book -- how Mortenson got lost while hiking in Pakistan and stumbled upon the village of Korphe, where he was taken in and cared for by the villagers -- is a fabrication.

The central conceit of Three Cups of Tea is that Mortenson's time with the villagers inspired him to return to the region to build a school for girls, setting him off on a campaign to build dozens of schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Viking Books, Mortenson's publisher, seemed to support him in a short statement released Monday but also said it would investigate the claims.

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