Greg Mortenson became famous when he started a Bozeman non-profit to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He wrote a book called "Three Cups of Tea" about his work there.
But he became infamous when allegations surfaced that he was using charity donations for his own personal spending, like charter flights for family vacations.
"No one would doubt that this was a charity that basically grew from almost nothing to a huge international deal in about 10 years," Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock said. "And the accounting policies didn't keep up with that."
On Thursday, Bullock announced a settlement with Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute bringing a year-long investigation to a close.
"What we found is there were some real problems that occurred, both with Greg Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute board, as far as their duties of making sure that donated dollars are used for the purposes intended."
Under the settlement, Mortenson will repay more than $1 million to the CAI. Bullock says, despite its troubles, the CAI is an important non-profit that can reestablish itself with greater oversight.
"There have been substantial changes in the Central Asia Institute over this past year as we've conducted this investigation," Bullock said.
The Book Exchange in Missoula sells both of Mortenson's books. Manager Kyle Mcafee says he's glad the CAI will get another chance.
"To have that big of a name and then just have it shut down because of some discrepancies doesn't make a whole lot of sense," he said.
Still, he says those discrepancies took a toll.
"It can be pretty detrimental, because when that news first came out, definitely sales dropped pretty substantially," Mcafee said.
He says he's glad the state checked the facts and held Mortenson accountable, but he doubts that will fully restore the public's faith in books and charities like Mortenson's.
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