Three Cups of Controversy

Nearly one month after denying allegations that he fabricated some of the stories in his best-selling book Three Cups of Tea, the plot thickened for Greg Mortenson. Michele Reinhart and Jean Price, both of Great Falls, filed a lawsuit against the author and his corporation, the Central Asia Institute (CAI), claiming he was untruthful in his book. According to a press release, the lawsuit raises claims for fraud, deceit, and unjust enrichment. The plaintiffs in the case, Reinhart and Price, purchased Mortenson’s book and made donations to the CAI. If found guilty, Mortenson and the CAI could be forced to refund proceeds from the sale of his books. Three Cups of Tea documents his ill-fated attempt to climb K2 and how afterward, he stumbled into a Pakistani village where he was cared for and nursed back to health; in gratitude, he promised to return and build a school. In April, a report by 60 Minutes alleged that Mortenson fabricated stories in the book and spent more money promoting it than building schools. Mortenson rejected the allegations, stating, “I stand by the information conveyed in my book.” Numerous Bozemanites have come forward in his defense, flooding the Bozeman Daily Chronicle with favorable letters to the editor.