Three Cups of Tea disputed


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Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
May 4, 2013 - 01:58pm PT
Excellent summary Rick and thanks.

May 4, 2013 - 02:18pm PT
Rick A,
Well said. A voice of reason is too rare on supertopo. el cono's mediocre attempt at humor turned out to provide opportunity for an objective look at the whole affair. I have questioned Krakauer's motivation for exposing this whole debacle because it must be a bit unsettling to be such a catalyst. I would have had to have an intense internal debate before taking such actions. Krakauer probably did too. But I agree that it had to be done and that GM should apologize - at the very least. I'm not expecting my $200 back.

Trad climber
May 4, 2013 - 02:23pm PT
If anyone is looking for an alternative donation vehicle, I ran into this a couple of days ago. Sounds pretty legit to me, and closer to home.

Jesuit priest working with gang kids in LA's barrio and founder of "Homeboy Industries".

(in the interest of full disclosure: I'm not a Jesuit, nor a Catholic, nor really (some would say) a Christian - but this is inspiring....)

Trad climber
May 4, 2013 - 02:33pm PT
I don't know how it is in Afghanistan, but building just one orphanage in Haiti is full-time work for someone to look out for and avoid wasteful spending or getting scammed, or getting tied into bad company, or a million other things that we have spotted and made adjustments out of.

I couldn't imagine doing more than one project at a time. The bigger you get, the more waste there is.

7% of the money Americans donated to Haiti after the earthquake got into their hands when donated through the top 3 large organizations.

100% of what gets donated with our small organization gets into worker's hands.

I think it is wrong - but I can very well see how CAI got too big to run well. The first bits of waste probably happened when nobody looked, then when they realized what had happened, and that nobody said anything, they thought about using the leak to fill their own pocket. Give that a few years and voila! Average, run-of-the-mill non-profit organization. There wouldn't have been much to stop the few leaks at first since the leader apparently was stretching the truth about his climb, etc. from the start. The rest of the group would have picked up on this and allowed lies to grow. Organizational culture always comes from the top.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
May 4, 2013 - 04:29pm PT

Again, Rick, thanks for some wonderful clarification.
Wish I'd spoken to you before I was suckered out of
some cash that could have gone to someplace really
in need of it.
El Cono

Boulder climber
Tierra Del CoŮo
May 5, 2013 - 03:19pm PT
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?
If I have to send money to a government that then sends tens of billions (B-I-L-L-I-O-N-S) of dollars yearly (Y-E-A-R-L-Y)to a region that has never produced anything more than a steady stream of two-bit terrorists and a convenient excuse to prop up an American military-consultant complex, I can send the CAI what's in the change jar every year, and then some.
Do you care that there is strong evidence that a lot of contributorís money is wasted by corruption?
Of course I do. But them's the facts. You want to build a school in Pakistan, you gotta grease a few palms. I'm amazed that you'd be surprised or offended.
Any reasonable non profit would have cleared up these sorts of accounting questions long ago.
Reasonable non-profits don't build schools in regions like this.
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.
A "Taxpayer subsidized donation" is the hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation that banking CEOs got during their government sponsored bailouts. The CAI does not receive US Government assistance. That's the Pakistani government's job.
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.
Krakauer's job is finding "fables" as you put it, particularly the ones with some holes in them, and exploit them for all they're worth. That's his job, and he's good at it. Too bad for him that pawning himself off as a "victim" of Mortenson's devious plan to swindle him out of his heartfelt charity falls flat on it's face.
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.
Greg Mortenson lives in Montana. He pays property taxes there. He was accused of keeping, over the course of 10 years, travelling expenses paid to him for honorariums from the CAI and from his hosts. Was this some harebrained scheme cooked up by some accounting flunkie that was hired by the board, to compensate GM? Is this why it was "probably" illegal? I don't know. Do you know? You seem to know a lot about the theivery going on at the CAI, surely you have an inside line, because the attorney general didn't say.
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.
OK. You are self righteous. Personally, if private jet travel gets the head of a charity to hundreds of speaking engagements a year instead of just a few dozen, I'm all for it. As for living in Afghanistan; if that's your idea of luxury, well....
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?
As long as they're little, I'd just as soon as keep that between you and me. Our kids can figure the hard truths when they try to build their own schools in third world countries.
There are plenty of charities that donít engage in these types of shenanigans
That's true, and they save puppies, feed the homeless, and sell cookies in green boxes. In third world countries, "shenanigans" are SOP. Christ, even the Peace Corps is riddled with CIA operatives.
The point is that Mortensonís self serving lies in his books were used to convince people to give to his charity.
If I could get just one school built, I'd write a book about me being God's other son.
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
Since Bozeman isn't particularly large, maybe someone can go to GM's place and take a photo of all the fabulous riches he's gotten at the "expense of CAI" (i-Tunes downloads excepted). Seems to me that there were a lot of "off the books" agreements between the CAI board and GM that ultimately benefitted the CAI, according to the board. Maybe this isn't kosher bookeeping but this doesn't make GM look like Lance Armstrong. Stop pretending that it does.


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 5, 2013 - 04:39pm PT
El Cono, to my knowledge Oxfam and Medecins Sans Frontiere, two of my favorites,
don't save puppies or sell cookies. They are also well known for srupulously
open record keeping and having an extremely low overhead, two attributes
which no impartial observer would attribute to CAI.
El Cono

Boulder climber
Tierra Del CoŮo
May 18, 2013 - 10:35am PT
Reilly, both Oxfam and MSF have their own problems, some of them quite ugly. The other day I walked over to Medecin du Monde and had an interesting chat with a few of the smokers on break. They all acknowledged having to deal with "corruption" and waste. I put it in quotes because they were careful to point out that what's corruption to a westerner, is sometimes a workaround for a guy trying to feed his family. They also said that corruption is less of a problem when going into places with mature governments, local or otherwise which, they said, is more of a luxury in most parts of the 3rd world. As for scrupulous bookeeping that indicates low overhead? Using that as some measure of effectiveness is pure BS. Sorry, but it is.

Social climber
Aug 3, 2013 - 08:05am PT
@Stitch, Colorado Springs

My poem which you so object to is copyrighted material which you did not contact me for permission to use. The fact you named me in no way gave you permission. You were also ignorant of the reasons why I wrote that poem, as during my coverage my personal email was hacked "spying on school teachers is no way to win a court case", personal emails between myself, attorneys on all sides and the CAI were all harvested, placed in file folders and disseminated all over the U.S. and German (Random House headquarters). To say I was angry is quite obvious. The folders were named "Mortenson" "Discovery" and "Haddon" and I began receiving "love notes" on instant message from "Mohommed" and "Abdul". Obviously some Krakauer supporter or worse, the Plaintiffs were involved in violating my account and I had every right to express my opinion which turned out to be correct.

The motion was made of swiss cheese, there was not one single cited criminal act in the motion which is why they kept requesting permission to amend it. It was dismissed by Judge Samuel Hadden in March of 2012, and Drury persists in an appeal.

And to update my "fan" and "frenemies" where on Supertopo, the man who actually wrote Three Cups of Tea committed suicide last Thanksgiving after being bankrupted and having his reputation ruined because Krakauer got pissed off at Greg Mortenson. Krakauer's insincere condolences to David Relin's widow was insincere as within days his friend and editor Tina Brown runs he article "Is it time to forgive Greg Mortenson yet?"

Gee, after causing the death of one writer, refusing to cooperate with the class action law suit that had one source and one source only Krakauer, he has blood on his hands and all of you who supported him do too.

For those who have on this thread have questioned my academic and professional credentials, I am a graduate of the UND, both in journalism and my Maser's degree is in English, I am an examiner with the British Council here in China and have worked in central Asia for nearly 9 years.

I'm sick of seeing this thread come up when my name is Googled, and for those "dainty" climbers who were offended by my language, please allow me to quote you when someone violates your private email box and sends its contents all over hell and high water.

Krakauer did not kill Mortenson (though he timed it to hopefully have that affect since he was awaiting open heart surgery), Relin is dead, but Mortenson is still in Afghanistan, he did build the schools he said he built, his books still sell world-wide and the CIA is stronger than ever with NO THANKS TO THE KRAK.

Karma will deal with Mr. Krakauer. There is an avalanche with his name on it coming. That's what happens when you piss off the dead.

Aug 3, 2013 - 08:28am PT
And OJ was found not guilty of killing Ronald and Nicole.

And we all know he didn't do it, right Kate?

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 3, 2013 - 08:39am PT
Relin's death is on Krak???? What a joke. Maybe if a certain person didn't lie and IGNORE opportunities to correct the problem NONE of this would of happened. He chose not to becuase he knew he was guilty. Why do you think he chose not to speak to 60 minutes? Every thing about this was so preventable.

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Aug 3, 2013 - 08:45am PT
Jennier Woodlief is perhaps the most professional climbing-reporter/writer today (A Wall of White and A Bolt from the Blue)

Her concern for accuracy, fairness and empathy with characters may start a reverse trend. Get off the Krak and read one of her books...

Aug 3, 2013 - 09:28am PT
Kathryn, A bit more proofreading would make it easier for me to follow your writing. I couldn't find the poem; would you repost it? You do seem to have some insight on the matter.

The Desert Oven
Jan 20, 2014 - 03:48pm PT,0,2820493.story#axzz2qz7sKHej

Although Krakauer's piece predates the Mortenson's interview, I think it is still a great rebuttal. IMHO, Greg is a con artist, at best skimming huge sums of money from a charitable foundation. I cannot believe that people still donate money to this asshat and his "charity."

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jan 20, 2014 - 07:19pm PT

More excellent information on on real big, dishonest scammer.

Trad climber
Jan 20, 2014 - 07:36pm PT
wow, true believers still posting on ST.

i guess we also have a man-in-the-moon thread, though, so maybe i shouldnt be surprised.

Jan 21, 2014 - 07:39am PT
On the Today show right now.

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 21, 2014 - 07:59am PT
Saw it on the Eastcoast this morning. He really didn't say much.

Why after years of silence does he speak on the Today show?!?

The Desert Oven
Jan 21, 2014 - 08:15am PT
Money - he wants more of it. The more I read about this guy and his "charity," the more I am convinced that he is a total POS. He might have started with good intentions, but he has lost all credibility.

Jan 21, 2014 - 08:30am PT
WTF was that. He said nothing.

I just lost most of the respect I had for Brokaw. That was the wrong guy to interview GM. They should have actually had a journalist who did not know anyone involved. TB gave money to GM. What a pussy footed interview.

Like the fact that the donations are down 80%. If we could just get the next 15% then it's gone. Perhaps someone will then step up and run a proper charity for those people.

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