Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Return of the Greg Mortenson story

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 10:44 AM

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The best-selling author of Three Cups of Tea is back in the headlines again. Ten months ago, "60 Minutes" and author Jon Krakauer accused Greg Mortenson of fabricating stories in his books and mismanaging funds for his nonprofit, Central Asia Institute, which builds schools in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. A civil lawsuit was filed against Mortenson, who lives in Bozeman, and included Missoula resident Michele Reinhart as a plaintiff; Reinhart has since dropped out of the suit. Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock also launched an investigation.

Then things went silent until the last few days.

Last Thursday, Mortenson's lawyers filed a motion to have the civil suit dismissed. The move may have been a preemptive strike against a wave of bad news about to crash down on Mortenson. On Sunday, Outside magazine published a lengthy article that wonders if "CAI is about to get hammered" by the AG's office. The story recounts a tense exchange between Krakauer and CAI board members, and cites Krakauer's periodic updates to his own reporting.

The situation has been relatively quiet for several months, with the attorney general’s office toiling away and lawyers on both sides of the civil suit researching, writing, and filing pretrial motions and briefs. And while it’s impossible to predict what will happen next, this much seems safe to say: the Greg Mortenson story is about to get loud again.

The Outside article, written by Alex Heard, digs much deeper into the legal questions and accusations against Mortenson. It's worth a read, especially with things apparently heating up again.

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