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September 19, 2014

Central Asia Institute Seeks '3 Cups' Author's Return

Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson tells the Associated Press he will reluctantly resume activity with the Central Asia Institute nearly three years after he gave up management of the education nonprofit amid charges that he fabricated portions of his best-selling memoir and mismanaged the charity's money.

The Bozeman, Mont.-based organization, which builds schools in impoverished villages in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, has asked Mr. Mortenson to make promotional videos and return to public speaking to help reverse a precipitous slide in fundraising since the scandal. "Greg is recognizable, he commands an audience, and people want to hear what happened," said Steve Barrett, who chair's the charity's board.

Mr. Mortenson, the institute's founder, was removed as executive director and gave up his board seat in the wake of the fabrication controversy. In April 2012 he agreed to repay the charity $1.1-million to settle an investigation of its finances by Montana's attorney general. Mr. Mortenson has disputed the inquiry's findings and said the events in his book occurred but that he rearranged their timing and sequence.

"You wish the past could just be done with, but there are still a lot of questions," he told the AP. "So I'd like to answer those questions [and] let the public decide, but then let me move on and help those girls and kids overseas."