Home / Robert Farley / Imaginary Stones to Imaginary Schools?

Imaginary Stones to Imaginary Schools?


This is one of those things that is disappointing, but not at all surprising:

“You would hope that they would be spending a lot more on the schools in Pakistan than they would on book-related costs,” says Borochoff. “Why doesn’t Mr. Mortenson spend his own money on the book-related costs? He’s the one getting the revenues,” Borochoff tells Kroft.

“60 Minutes” also checked on schools that CAI claims to have built in Pakistan and Afghanistan and found that some of them were empty, built by somebody else, or simply didn’t exist at all. The principals of a number of schools said they had not received any money from CAI in years.

Krakauer says a former board member of CAI told him he should stop giving money to Mortenson’s charity years ago. “In 2002, [Mortenson’s] board treasurer quit, resigned, along with the board president and two other board members…he said, in so many words, that Greg uses Central Asia Institute as his private ATM machine. That there’s no accounting. He has no receipts,” says Krakauer.

“60 Minutes” asked Mortenson several times for an interview, but he has not responded. CAI’s two other board members also did not respond to phone calls and e-mails requesting comment.

Obviously it doesn’t look great for Mortenson, but I’ll be interested to see if he has any kind of response. The position of Stones into Schools on the Patterson Summer Reading List may be in jeopardy…

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  • RepubAnon

    Will Governor Christie appoint Mr. Mortenson to a post overseeing both New Jersey schools and the Governor’s re-election fundraising efforts? For that matter, I’m sure the Governor of Wisconsin is interviewing Mr. Mortenson for a similar dual-role position.

  • asdfsdf

    That’s legitimately disappointing news, if true.

  • Will

    There’s obviously lots of disturbing stuff in that story, and much of it sounds bad. However, one quick point. The following claim, “We managed to track down the two porters who accompanied Mortenson” is probably unmitigated bullshit.

    Simply put, I would expect the local porters to lie through their teeth about this. When you live in the third-world and make your living schleping bags around for rich westerners who have more in their wallet than you see in a year, honesty takes a back-seat to “how can I make a buck off of this?”

    A friend wrote a book all about the 2008 K2 disaster, and focused his book on the stories of the porters, etc. rather than just those of the frostbitten westerners. He had to devote a whole chapter to the problem of “folks tell me what they think I want to hear in the hopes that I will hire them, recommend their services to others, or otherwise provide them with some financial benefit.”

  • The Mortensen response has been up for a while now. May we safely assume that Stones for Schools needs to be replaced?

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