Three Cups of Tea disputed

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Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Dec 4, 2012 - 11:32am PT
I'm shaken by the news of Renlin's suicide... there but for the grace of God...

Profound sympathies to his friends and family.

I posted some thoughts about the tragedy yesterday.
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Dec 4, 2012 - 11:38am PT
Psychopaths don't kill themselves

Honest men with a conscience do kill themselves...

Very sad indeed..
So very sad
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Dec 5, 2012 - 06:35am PT
What a tragic turn of events. I hope the family and friends of Mr. Relin can find some peace.
splitter

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Dec 5, 2012 - 08:07am PT
This is just heartbreaking. His heart was in the right place, he cared about children. I don't know what else to say. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones, and my hope is that it will help to bring them some peace.

edit: Gene - yes, the whole thing is very sad.

sometimes, the higher the mountain top, the deeper the valley. and in the deepest of valleys there sometimes lurks the shadow of death.

i hope that this somehow all turns around. that no more bad, only good will begin to sprout.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and staff, they comfort me."

Please be with them, and comfort them, Lord!
Gene

climber
Dec 5, 2012 - 08:32am PT
The entire TCT/CAI episode is so sad. Condolences to the family and friends Mr. Renlin.

g
Silver

Gym climber
Dec 5, 2012 - 09:17am PT
Amen Splitter.

Sad as sad can be.
squish

Social climber
bc
Dec 5, 2012 - 09:19am PT
I feel the CAI should have been more the target for JK and not the book, perhaps he tried?.
JK gave his $$ to them and he knew people that were on the board of directors, he was probably privy to reasons why those directors quit.
There was large gap of time before JK's media pieces came out. In the meantime, there was alot of money made by GM.

The USA is a nightmare for stupid lawsuit claims and anyone involved should be ashamed with themselves.
I never read the book, but feel for the tragic outcome.
There are many climbing books that are written/co-written where truths are stretched, information not relayed properly or submitted too late for a deadline.
I know a couple of women who worked in publishing and they told me climbers were the worst to work with!.

JK cab stretch things also, while spending time for an article on Fred Beckey and shopping in a grocery store, FB takes a sample of food, then made him out like a moocher, meanwhile FB said JK ate a piece too,
(I have seen FB tip very well and to a male waiter).
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Dec 5, 2012 - 09:48am PT
Agreed. I think you mean the Outside profile twenty or so years ago, about the same time I met JK.

I though that the article, though exceptionally well written, was unnecessarily cruel.




But, as a person nearly suckered into the scam, I welcome the daylight shed on GM's profligate ways and grossly inflated claims.
I wish I could remember who and where, but I recently read of somebody with far less fanfare accomplishing far more in building schools in remote areas.

This latest sad turn almost appears to be a confirmation of some peoples worst fears.
That he was a man of honor is so appallingly tragic.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Apr 28, 2013 - 08:01pm PT
Here is Jon Krakauer's devastating update on the Mortenson/CAI story in the Daily Beast.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/08/is-it-time-to-forgive-greg-mortenson.html

Short summary: an audit reveals evidence of corruption and waste of CAI donations by CAI's operatives in Asia, CAI still taking in donations from school children, Three Cups of Tea still selling well, and Mortenson still pulling down a nice salary from money donated to CAI.

Incredible that Mortenson has never had to publicly explain himself. Remember that he claimed that medical problems prevented him from speaking out when the scandal broke and that he would address the 60 Minutes allegations later. We're still waiting two years later.





sullly

Trad climber
Apr 28, 2013 - 08:21pm PT
60 minutes needs to revisit the story. The empty school buildings with no girl students around had impact. I'm betting Mortenson's pr team is buying up copies of TCoT themselves to tweak numbers and to appear relevant.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 28, 2013 - 11:44pm PT
It's clear this tale isn't over. Thankfully so far the lout has been reined in a smidge. Types like this will need a nastier correction though, than that which he's received to date.

And with a lot of the possible malfeasance being in a gray areas of maybe so/maybe not and so terrifically remote geographically---some even in war zones---along with the groundswell of popularity his group generated, getting a real adjustment out of him looks to be awfully challenging.

And the fact GM seems to be willing to ride forward from this point on without substantial clarification or apology, should be enough warning to anyone except school kids with their tiny savings accounts and piggy banks.

Thanks Ricky for keeping the Affaire Mortenson as an important concern for us. And of course Jon. If only Le Greg's whole tale were true, right?
El Cono

Boulder climber
Tierra Del CoŮo
Apr 29, 2013 - 03:39am PT
Hi gang!
I scored a 1st draft of Greg Mortensen's apology to everyone:

To the Pakistani Minister of Education: I am sorry to have exposed the ineptitude and ambivalence of your crap department and to have shone a light on the fact that you are both too afraid, too incompetent, and too callous to even visit these parts of your own country, much less bother educating one of the most repressed and abused majority populations of the third world. I am sorry that the world now knows that the Pakistani government doesn't give a flying fuk about it's women and considers them only equal to dogs and other animals of debatable value. I am sorry that your department has secretly tried to subvert both my efforts and the concept of educating girls in remote provinces. I am also sorry that I was unable to properly bribe you into simply leaving us alone.

To John Krakauer: I am sorry to have accepted money from someone without having done a proper google search that would have revealed him to be the self-serving publicity whore that he is. We have learned from this incident and have subsequently refused donations from Aum Shinrikyo, the Ulster Volunteer Force, and Sarah Palin.

To SuperTopo: I am sorry to have revealed to other members your laziness, idiocy, and casual self righteousness in understanding what it means to even attempt to build a school in one of the most hostile cultural and geographic environments in the known solar system. I am sorry that so few of you have ever known the joys of weeks of tear-inducing dysentery, the abject terror when you and your family are approached by veiled teenagers with guns or the butt clenching sounds of gunfire in the night. I am also sorry that you will never experience the joy of relentless fundraising, living out of airport hotels, and having to get on your knees to blow a rich man out of the couple grand he'd otherwise spend on a gold plated toilet seat. I am also sorry that you feel that I am overly compensated in the face of your part-time hair-net jobs.

To the State of Montana: I am sorry I pay property taxes to you.

To the kids who sent me money: I am sorry that I took your money without properly telling you what it would be used for and that I did not explain that sometimes the money I said was used to buy books was sometimes used to bribe a disgusting old man into letting his 12 year old wife go to school 4 hours a week. I am also sorry that I spent some of the money that was to be used for cement or roofing materials was instead spent paying off highwaymen, pikers, armed groups, the guy I used to buy cement wholesale, the guy I used to organize mules to carry boxes of hardware, the guy I used to transport teaching materials, the Pakistani Ministry of Education, and extortionists who'd threaten to expose the fact that I have to waste a lot of your money like this. I am also sorry that i cannot provide receipts for these and other "operating expenses". I'm sorry that I sometimes used a plane to travel directly between fundraising events where I had to kiss the asses of many loathsome people who were mostly looking for a tax write-off. I am truly sorry that you have had to learn, far earlier than you had a right to, the facts that face you in your adult lives; I am deeply sorry for that.

-GM
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Apr 29, 2013 - 06:02am PT
ROTFLMAO!!!! Classic sir, classic.


El Cono Said:
"Hi gang!
I scored a 1st draft of Greg Mortensen's apology to everyone:

To the Pakistani Minister of Education: I am sorry to have exposed the ineptitude and ambivalence of your crap department and to have shone a light on the fact that you are both too afraid, too incompetent, and too callous to even visit these parts of your own country, much less bother educating one of the most repressed and abused majority populations of the third world. I am sorry that the world now knows that the Pakistani government doesn't give a flying fuk about it's women and considers them only equal to dogs and other animals of debatable value. I am sorry that your department has secretly tried to subvert both my efforts and the concept of educating girls in remote provinces. I am also sorry that I was unable to properly bribe you into simply leaving us alone.

To John Krakauer: I am sorry to have accepted money from someone without having done a proper google search that would have revealed him to be the self-serving publicity whore that he is. We have learned from this incident and have subsequently refused donations from Aum Shinrikyo, the Ulster Volunteer Force, and Sarah Palin.

To SuperTopo: I am sorry to have revealed to other members your laziness, idiocy, and casual self righteousness in understanding what it means to even attempt to build a school in one of the most hostile cultural and geographic environments in the known solar system. I am sorry that so few of you have ever known the joys of weeks of tear-inducing dysentery, the abject terror when you and your family are approached by veiled teenagers with guns or the butt clenching sounds of gunfire in the night. I am also sorry that you will never experience the joy of relentless fundraising, living out of airport hotels, and having to get on your knees to blow a rich man out of the couple grand he'd otherwise spend on a gold plated toilet seat. I am also sorry that you feel that I am overly compensated in the face of your part-time hair-net jobs.

To the State of Montana: I am sorry I pay property taxes to you.

To the kids who sent me money: I am sorry that I took your money without properly telling you what it would be used for and that I did not explain that sometimes the money I said was used to buy books was sometimes used to bribe a disgusting old man into letting his 12 year old wife go to school 4 hours a week. I am also sorry that I spent some of the money that was to be used for cement or roofing materials was instead spent paying off highwaymen, pikers, armed groups, the guy I used to buy cement wholesale, the guy I used to organize mules to carry boxes of hardware, the guy I used to transport teaching materials, the Pakistani Ministry of Education, and extortionists who'd threaten to expose the fact that I have to waste a lot of your money like this. I am also sorry that i cannot provide receipts for these and other "operating expenses". I'm sorry that I sometimes used a plane to travel directly between fundraising events where I had to kiss the asses of many loathsome people who were mostly looking for a tax write-off. I am truly sorry that you have had to learn, far earlier than you had a right to, the facts that face you in your adult lives; I am deeply sorry for that.

-GM "


sullly

Trad climber
Apr 29, 2013 - 06:50am PT
El Cono, you forgot that he needs to apologize for the fake climbing resume. So Paul Ryan.
coz

Gym climber
Belmont
Apr 29, 2013 - 10:47am PT
Is this letter for real, seems like the ramblings of a lunatic.

Can anyone verify this is GM? He is admitting to performing sexual favors to raise money.

Can't be real.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Apr 29, 2013 - 11:15am PT
He is admitting to performing sexual favors to raise money.

It's always good practice to come completely clean when apologizing.

Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 29, 2013 - 11:24am PT
Coz, uh, this was a new and interesting spoof done in the most sarcastic tone possible. V. funny too.
orle

climber
Apr 29, 2013 - 11:27am PT
Looks pretty real to me

To SuperTopo: I am sorry to have revealed to other members your laziness, idiocy, and casual self righteousness in understanding

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 29, 2013 - 11:38am PT
Why not any other sites?

I agree on there needing to be an apology for falsifying climb details.




spoof
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
May 4, 2013 - 01:35pm PT
Excerpt from Krakauer that gives the flavor of his Daily Beast article:

Contrary to the assurances of supporters who insist that both Mortenson and CAI have cleaned up their acts, an audit of the charityís overseas activities by a Pakistani accounting firm, as well as information provided by other sources in Pakistan and Afghanistan, indicate that CAIís foreign operations are currently beset by widespread corruption. Thanks to appallingly lax oversight that began while Mortenson was at the helm and continued during Beyersdorferís two-year tenure, many hundreds of thousands of dollarsóperhaps millionsóappear to have been wasted or pilfered by some of the charityís Afghan and Pakistani staff.

El Cono-

Even though your post is a satire and not really from GM, it sounds like you are a unapologetic supporter of Mortnenson and CAI. Will you keep donating your own money to CAI, so that it can be spent paying Mortensonís lawyers to the tune of millions in legal fees? Do you care that there is strong evidence that a lot of contributorís money is wasted by corruption? Any reasonable non profit would have cleared up these sorts of accounting questions long ago. If an organization takes tax payer subsidized donations, it has a responsibility to account for the money and tell the truth about how it is being spent. If contributors' money continues to be wasted, they have a right to know.

If you intended that we take seriously the arguments you seem to put forth in your spoof, they arenít very persuasive :

To John Krakauer: I am sorry to have accepted money from someone without having done a proper google search that would have revealed him to be the self-serving publicity whore that he is. We have learned from this incident and have subsequently refused donations from Aum Shinrikyo, the Ulster Volunteer Force, and Sarah Palin.

Generating publicity is not Krakauer's motivation at all. He along with a lot of others was impressed by the story Mortenson promoted that GM was a heroic humanitarian worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize. Because of this fable, Krakauer gave him $75,000 and even endorsed Mortenson. Here is Krakauer's explanation from the article:

Ashamed that I had helped persuade many thousands of people to give their hard-earned money to a charlatan, and had done nothing more to correct my blunder than write a letter to CAI, I launched an exhaustive investigation of the charity to make amends. As my investigation gathered momentum, and I came to understand just how dysfunctional the organization had become, I resolved to do my utmost to inform donors about the gravity of CAIís predicament and to stay on the case until things were back on track.

On the actions of the Montana attorney general you say:

To the State of Montana: I am sorry I pay property taxes to you.

Mortenson was charged with wrongfully taking and using $1,000,000 from money contributed to CAI. The Montana Attorney General found that this was a probable violation of the law and made him pay it back. The settlement had nothing to do with paying taxes to Montana. There is an unresolved question raised by CAIís own lawyers regarding whether Mortenson failed to pay federal income taxes on the money that CAI gave him to fly around the country in private jets. Montana doesnít need an apology, it got $1,000,000 out of Mortenson that he improperly got from CAI. However, the IRS may yet be heard from on the propriety of Mortensonís actions with respect to federal income tax and if it does, I expect it will demand more than an apology.

To the kids who sent me money: I am sorry that I took your money without properly telling you what it would be used for and that I did not explain that sometimes the money I said was used to buy books was sometimes used to bribe a disgusting old man into letting his 12 year old wife go to school 4 hours a week. I am also sorry that I spent some of the money that was to be used for cement or roofing materials was instead spent paying off highwaymen, pikers, armed groups, the guy I used to buy cement wholesale, the guy I used to organize mules to carry boxes of hardware, the guy I used to transport teaching materials, the Pakistani Ministry of Education, and extortionists who'd threaten to expose the fact that I have to waste a lot of your money like this. I am also sorry that i cannot provide receipts for these and other "operating expenses". I'm sorry that I sometimes used a plane to travel directly between fundraising events where I had to kiss the asses of many loathsome people who were mostly looking for a tax write-off. I am truly sorry that you have had to learn, far earlier than you had a right to, the facts that face you in your adult lives; I am deeply sorry for that.

Pretty hard to follow some of what you are saying here, but you seem to be justifying the waste of contributorís money overseas. We may disagree on whether the ends (building schools that may or may not be materially helping children in Afganistan) justify the means (using charitable contributions for improper private use, paying off cronies), but the point is that contributors to CAI have a right to know how their money is spent.

Call me self righteous, but personally I wouldnít want any part of my contributions to a charitable organization going to pay for private jet travel or to buy a house for the executive directorís crony in Afganistan.

Apparently you think itís a good lesson for the children who contribute to CAI through Pennies for Peace to learn that some of their pennies are not really going to educate Afghan girls, but into the pockets of apparent thieves. Is this really a fact that is an inevitable life lesson? There are plenty of charities that donít engage in these types of shenanigans and once these children become adults they can simply choose to give to charities that donít waste their contributorís money and which account for every penny, even when they operate in third world countries.

To SuperTopo: I am sorry to have revealed to other members your laziness, idiocy, and casual self righteousness in understanding what it means to even attempt to build a school in one of the most hostile cultural and geographic environments in the known solar system. I am sorry that so few of you have ever known the joys of weeks of tear-inducing dysentery, the abject terror when you and your family are approached by veiled teenagers with guns or the butt clenching sounds of gunfire in the night. I am also sorry that you will never experience the joy of relentless fundraising, living out of airport hotels, and having to get on your knees to blow a rich man out of the couple grand he'd otherwise spend on a gold plated toilet seat. I am also sorry that you feel that I am overly compensated in the face of your part-time hair-net jobs.

Krakauer and the State of Montana both state that Mortenson has accomplished some admirable results in his work. That is not the point. The point is that Mortensonís self serving lies in his books were used to convince people to give to his charity. Mortenson then enriched himself at the expense of that charity, and to date has failed to respond to charges that he engaged in serious wrongdoing.

To me, this establishes that Mortenson canít be trusted to handle other peopleís money, something the Montana AG affirms since they forbade him from having any leadership role in CAI. He was warned for years by his own board of directors that his recklessness with contributorís money would have consequences. He chose to ignore these warnings and has been disgraced for it. This breach of trust has harmed a lot of people and permanently sullied the reputation of CAI. For all of this, a bona fide apology from Mortenson is long overdue.
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