AP Exclusive: ‘Three Cups’ author was overwhelmed

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“Three Cups of Tea,” which has sold about 4 million copies since being published in 2006, was conceived as a way to raise money and tell the story of his institute, founded by Mortenson in 1996.

The book and promotion of the charity by Mortenson, who appeared at more than 500 speaking engagements in four years, resulted in tens of millions of dollars in donations.

The book recounts how Mortenson lost his way after a failed mountaineering expedition and was nursed back to health in a Pakistani village. Based on the villagers’ kindness and the poverty he saw, he resolved to build a school for them.

The lawsuit claimed, as did reporting by Krakauer and “60 Minutes,” that Mortenson fabricated that story and others in the book and in “Stones Into Schools.”

Mortenson has denied any wrongdoing, though he has previously acknowledged some of the events in “Three Cups of Tea” were compressed over different periods of time.

The yearlong state investigation found that Mortenson’s poor record keeping and personnel management resulted in unknown amounts of cash spent overseas or for management costs without receipts or documentation.

CAI promoted Mortenson’s books for free, paid for his charter flights and the organization bought thousands of copies of his books to give away, without seeing any royalties, the state found.

Anne Beyersdorfer, CAI’s interim executive director, has said Mortenson will remain the face of the charity but not as executive director, and that he is barred from being a voting member of the board of directors as long as he draws a paycheck from CAI.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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