$1 Million for 3 Cups of Tea

Almost a year to the day after the first 60 Minutes report, the Montana Attorney General’s office has completed its investigation of the Central Asia Institute and Greg Mortenson and ordered Mortenson to reimburse the Institute $1 million. The AG did not find evidence of criminal wrongdoing. However:

The investigation found Mortenson had little aptitude for record keeping or personnel management, resulting in still-unknown amounts of cash earmarked management costs or wired overseas for projects without receipts or documentation on how that money was actually spent, the report said. The two other board members were Mortenson loyalists who generally did not challenge Mortenson, and he resisted or ignored CAI employees who questioned his practices, it said.

“Mr. Mortenson may not have intentionally deceived the board or his employees, but his disregard for and attitude about basic record keeping and accounting for his activities essentially had the same effect,” Attorney General Steve Bullock said.

Mortenson will continue to draw a salary from the Institute, but he cannot be a voting member of the Board of Directors as long as he is employed there, the Board must be expanded from its current three members to seven, and the other two current Board members must step down next year.

I wrote three posts about this last year. You can find the first here, the second here, and the third here.

In addition, Alex Heard’s February 2012 story on Mortenson in Outside magazine is a must-read.