Monday, May 09, 2011

A lawsuit over "Three Cups of Tea"

Two Montana legislators have filed suit against Greg Mortenson and his charity the Central Asia Institute. Mortenson was recently the subject of a 60 Minutes piece where it was alleged that his book "Three Cups of Tea" contained some misrepresentations. The book is the story of how the charity CIS was created and describes its mission to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

From the Los Angeles Times, Kim Murphy details the lawsuit.

The suit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Montana by two Democratic state legislators, Michele Reinhart of Missoula and Jean Price of Great Falls. They said they were moved to buy Mortenson's book and donate to his institute because they believed the published accounts, which included being kidnapped by the Taliban, were true.

The 2006 book sold more than 4 million copies. Author Jon Krakauer and the CBS news program "60 Minutes" said their research showed that some of the central anecdotes recounted in the book — including Mortenson's story of recuperating from a failed ascent of Pakistan's K2 in the small village where he went on to build his first school — did not happen as he described them in the book and in numerous public appearances around the world.

"The law says you cannot make misrepresentations, you cannot tell somebody something's true and have them buy your book and make donations to your institute, when in fact it's not true. That's covered by fraud, deceit, unjust enrichment, many parts of the law," said the legislators' attorney, Alexander Blewitt III.

Mortenson has said that the book is substantially true but that some of the incidents were rearranged.

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