Mortenson’s CAI shot into limelight last year when Tipped off by Greg’s board member Tom Hornbein (Everest Hornbein couloir), in spring 2011 American Jon Krakauer of Everest Into Thin Air fame alleged that Greg exaggerated his story and embezzled money from his foundation.
Krakauer released a digital book teaser on Amazon.com and appeared in a popular investigative TV show calling Mortenson’s work “a beautiful story, but a lie.” The attacks took place as Mortenson was scheduled to undergo open-heart surgery. Soon after, some individuals filed for investigations.
Mortenson, who normally appears in seminars and publicity campaigns for his book “Three Cups of Tea”, written on his personal account of a failed K-2 Expedition. His stay in the remote mountainous village of Korphe with the locals thereby triggered his urge to build schools in the remote and barren regions of the Karakorum in Pakistan. The book soared to unprecendented stardom, hitting the Best Seller’s List within weeks and the author has been utilising the returns from the book to establish schools in the region.
CAI’s mission is reportedly good and its financial situation is strong, said the report. CAI took in $72 million in donations from 2003-2011 and still has more than $23 million in reserves.
Unable to verify all his expenses, a settlement agreement has been reached calling for Mortenson to reimburse CAI $980,000. He has three years to repay the balance because he lacks financial resources to pay it all back at once.