Officials in U.S. to probe "Three Cups of Tea" charity

Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:36am EDT
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By Emilie Ritter

HELENA, Montana (Reuters Life!) - The charity created by Greg Mortenson, the author of book "Three Cups of Tea," is being examined after a television news show raised questions about it, officials said.

The television news show "60 Minutes" on Sunday reported that Mortenson was using the Central Asia Institute, based in Montana, to promote his books.

Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock said he has a responsibility to oversee nonprofits such as the Central Asia Institute, which has built schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"In recent days, concerns have been raised about the management and financial affairs of the Central Asia Institute," Bullock said in a statement.

"I've been in contact with attorneys for the institute and they have pledged their full cooperation in addressing our concerns. While looking into this issue, my office will not jump to any conclusions, but we have a responsibility to make sure charitable assets are used for their intended purposes."

The Central Asia Institute did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.

The television report also said the Central Asia Institute spends more money domestically promoting the importance of constructing schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan than it spends to build them.

The move by the Montana attorney general came a day after Viking Press, the publisher behind Mortenson's memoir "Three Cups of Tea," said it was reviewing the bestseller following claims that parts of the book were fabricated.   Continued...

<p>Greg Mortenson poses with Sitara "Star" schoolchildren in Wakhan, northeastern Afghanistan in this undated handout photograph released to Reuters March 11, 2009. REUTERS/Central Asia Institute/Handout</p>