Writer’s fraud exposed

Greg Mortenson and his best-selling books, Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools reaped some more unwanted attention last week.

Greg Mortenson and his best-selling books, Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools reaped some more unwanted attention last week.

Attorney General Steve Bullock of Montana, where Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute charity is based, has ordered the storyteller to repay CAI more than $1 million, funds he says Mortenson misused.

Considering that Mortenson may have defrauded CAI of $7.8 million to $23.6 million, the repayment order is paltry indeed.

Oh, well.

The Kamloops Daily News mentioned Mortenson’s fraud in an editorial in January, which prompted a somewhat angry email from CAI’s executive director Anne Beyersdorfer in Montana. In it, Beyersdorfer insisted that all the accusations were only accusations — nothing was proven.

However, she didn’t counter or deny any of the accusations, either.

Her letter was followed by an email from Colorado, written by Jon Krakauer, a well-regarded journalist (Into Thin Air) and mountain climber who had exposed Mortenson to CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

His email emphasized Mortenson’s falsehoods and effectively shut down Beyersdorfer, from whom we heard not another word.

Krakauer originally supported Mortenson, even donating $75,000 to Mortenson’s charity. But by 2004, he started noticing the author’s stories didn’t hold up under scrutiny. He later reported:

“The first eight chapters of Three Cups of Tea are an intricately wrought work of fiction presented as fact. And by no means was this an isolated act of deceit.

“It (is) permeated with falsehoods … born of fantasy, audacity and an apparently insatiable hunger for esteem. Mortenson has lied about the noble deeds he has done, the risks he has taken, the people he has met, the number of schools he has built.

“Mortenson’s charity … has issued fraudulent financial statements, and he has misused millions of dollars donated by school children and other trusting devotees.”

That includes school children in Kamloops, contributing to Mortenson’s so-called Pennies for Peace.

This is a big deal, and not only because some Kamloops school children under the guidance of well-meaning teachers were taken in by this ruse.

It’s also a big deal because all of us are hungry for good news from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson provided it, giving us hope and allowing us to cross our fingers that, maybe, just maybe, the good works would some day overwhelm the bad.

But the schools he built? They don’t exist.

It’s puzzling, though, why attorney general Bullock would conclude that the charity itself, with Mortenson removed from the board, “is worth saving.” It has been the means by which Mortenson defrauded so many.

Just the same, the important part is done.

Mortenson has been exposed, legally and utterly.

Thanks to Jon Krakauer.

Just Posted

RCMP on scene of collision near Rimbey

Hwy 53 down to one lane at collision scene

Is the fate of Red Deer’s Parsons House solely in the hands of the province?

Demolition of old police station next door to begin this fall

Fundraiser to help keep kids warm in Blackfalds

Community Warmth Fall Fundraiser

Piper Creek Foundation gets a new name

Red Deer subsidized housing program for seniors

Reveen returns to Red Deer

Presented by Friends of Red Deer Regional Hospital

WATCH: Red Deer students take part in annual run

Dawe/St. Pat’s Run reaches 40th anniversary

Uber driver suing Bucs’ QB Winston over groping incident

PHOENIX — A female Uber driver in Arizona is suing Tampa Bay… Continue reading

Thousands of fans request grand jury probe of Prince’s death

MINNEAPOLIS — Thousands of Prince fans are asking federal authorities to open… Continue reading

Man pleads guilty to ‘Field of Dreams’ site vandalism

DUBUQUE, Iowa — A man accused of driving onto and damaging the… Continue reading

Rafael Nadal to skip tournaments in Asia because of bad knee

MADRID — Rafael Nadal says he will not play in upcoming tournaments… Continue reading

Canadian crabs with bad attitude threaten coastal Maine ecosystem

BIDDEFORD, Maine — Canadians are known as friendly folks, but these crabby… Continue reading

UK lawmakers: ‘Wild West’ cryptocurrencies need regulation

LONDON — British lawmakers have backed calls for greater regulation of cryptocurrencies… Continue reading

Proposed class action lawsuit on trailing commissions filed against CIBC

TORONTO — A class action lawsuit regarding trailing commissions paid to discount… Continue reading

Saskatchewan family reunited with dog that bolted during July 2017 farm visit

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — A family in Moose Jaw, Sask., is overjoyed… Continue reading

Most Read