'Three Cups of Tea' author's charity expands board after mismanagement accusations

Matt Volz, The Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. - The charity co-founded by "Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson said Thursday it has added seven new board members, an expansion that is part of a legal settlement over accusations of mismanagement at the organization that builds schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The new Central Asia Institute board of directors includes academics, businessmen, philanthropists and an attorney who are familiar with the region where the institute works. They were selected during a board meeting last week.

Mortenson, his books and the Central Asia Institute came under scrutiny last year when reports by "60 Minutes" and author Jon Krakauer alleged that Mortenson fabricated parts of "Three Cups of Tea" and its sequel "Stones Into Schools" and that he benefited financially from the charity.

A Montana attorney general investigation concluded last spring that Mortenson's control of the institute went unchallenged by the board and led to the charity spending millions on Mortenson's books, travel and personal items. The investigation found large amounts of cash sent overseas were never accounted for.

The probe focused only on the charity's finances and operations, and did not examine the books' contents.

The settlement with the attorney general's office also called for Mortenson to reimburse the charity $1 million.

The Montana attorney general's office did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday.

A federal judge earlier this year dismissed a civil lawsuit filed by people who bought the book and claimed fraud by Mortenson.