"Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson faces new troubles
Two Montana legislators, saying that millions of readers were bilked by "Three Cups of Tea," are pursuing a class action lawsuit against author Greg Mortenson.
End to an era at legendary Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company
'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' film rights acquired by Universal
Better World Books' bestseller list: more classics than new titles
More books, more choices: why America needs its indies
Is Slate's Amazon-defending blogger really a 'moron'?
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Mortenson, whose popular book has helped him to raise millions to support his efforts to build schools in central Asia, was one of America's most respected and best known philanthropists – until last month. That's when author Jon Krakauer appeared on "60 Minutes" to allege that Mortenson had lied in his book, misused the funds entrusted to him, and misrepresented the degree of the success of his school-building mission.
Mortenson has admitted that he "compressed" the timeline of some of the incidents in "Three Cups of Tea" but otherwise denies any claims of wrongdoing. His charity, the Central Asia Institute (CAI), has stated that in order to "address the recent media allegations" it is "gathering relevant facts from our field managers in Pakistan and Afghanistan to provide more comprehensive reporting." According to those close to Mortenson, pending heart surgery has prevented him from being able to speak out more fully in his own defense.
CAI board chairman Abdul Jabbar says that once Mortenson is "[a]rmed with a healthy heart" he will be ready to face the press and answer questions.
But even if Mortenson is not able to move forward at the moment, events are moving rapidly around him.
In federal court in Missoula last week, two Montana legislators – state Reps. Michele Reinhart and Jean Price – filed a claim against Mortenson, stating that they were duped into buying "Three Cups of Tea" and then giving to Mortenson's charity because they thought the stories in his book were true.