Former mountain climber and author Greg Mortenson is coming under fire for some allegedly less-than-truthful stories in his best-selling memoir.
In an interview with the CBS magazine program, Krakauer pokes holes in
Mortenson’s stories. Among them, his claims of stumbling upon the
village of Korphe and being nursed back to health by locals.
Others are joining in to debunk claims made in the book, including Mansur Khan Mahsud
who is portrayed as a Taliban kidnapper. According to Mahsud, the
stories are “totally false, and he is lying. He was not kidnapped.”
Mortenson’s non-profit organization, the Central Asia Institute, has
also been called into question regarding the use of its monetary influx
after complaints by board members, former donors and more. Krakauer is
among the former donors, as is President Obama, contributing to a
reported $23 million in earnings last year.
American Institute of Philanthropy president Daniel Borochoff has
examined the spending of the CAI, claiming the financial statements
show a lack of transparency in addition to mixing Mortenson’s personal
business with that of the charity.
“What’s surprising is that most of the program spending is not to help
kids in Pakistan and Afghanistan, it’s actually… what they call
domestic outreach where he goes around the country speaking and the cost
incurred for that, things like travel is a major component of that. You
know, just advertising,” he explains. “Sounds like a book tour to me.”
The purpose of the CAI is to promote education in remote parts of
Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to the web site, it has established
more than 140 schools there.
Mortenson is sticking by his book and his charity, claiming that recent attacks are “unjustified.”
You can read more on the investigation, including Mortenson’s statement on the CBS News website.