Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson settles probe of charity

Montana's attorney general announced today a settlement with "Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute, ending a probe into allegations of mismanagement of assets. Attorney General Steve Bullock found that the charity's board members failed to fulfill their responsibilities, and that Mortenson failed to fulfill his responsibilities as executive director, officer and director. The bottom line for Mortenson: He has to pay more than $1 million.

The AG's report, gives props to Mortenson for a "noble pursuit" -- building schools in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. But it also summarizes the mismanagement of the charity's funds: "Despite policies that committed him to do so, Mortenson failed to make contributions to CAI equal to the royalties he earned on the books the organization purchased. ... Mortenson also accepted travel fees from event sponsors at the same time that CAI was paying his travel costs. Moreover, he had significant lapses in judgment resulting in money donated to CAI being spent on personal items such as charter flights for family vacations, clothing and internet downloads."

The settlement requires Mortenson to pay CAI more than $1 million in restitution. It also imposes  stricter organizational and financial controls on the charity, including removing Mortenson from a position of financial oversight and as a voting member of the board.


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